Updated: September 23, 2020 | Original Post: September 26, 2019
As a therapist, I have found that depression is one of the harder mental health challenges to treat. This is because it is either due to something that actually happened to a person or because of their brain chemistry which makes them susceptible to being depressed. What is particularly troubling about depression is the sense of hopelessness that it can create, leading to suicide and self-harming behaviours. A common condition that accompanies depression is anxiety that I discuss in other blog posts.
I found these troubling stats that you see on this page on psychcentral.com:
According to suicide.org, a teen in the United States takes his or her own life every 100 minutes. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Approximately 20 percent of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood, and between 10 to 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time. Only 30 percent of depressed teens are being treated for it. Some teens are more at risk for teen depression and suicide than others. Among them:
- Teen females develop depression twice as often than men.
- Abused and neglected teens are at risk.
- Adolescents who suffer from chronic illnesses or other physical conditions.
- Teens with a family history of depression or mental illness. Between 20 to 50 percent of teens suffering from depression have a family member with depression or some other mental disorder.
- Teens with untreated mental or substance-abuse problems. Approximately two-thirds of teens with major depression also battle another mood disorder like dysthymia,anxiety, antisocial behaviors, or substance abuse.
- Young people who experienced trauma or disruptions at home, including divorce and deaths of parents.
Causes of depression can range from abuse as a child, fighting in the home, bullying, parental divorce, struggles at school, and many others.
In particular, social media is becoming a problem. When a teen is excluded from chat rooms, doesn’t get the number of desired “likes” on a post, or gets critical or cruel comments that are seen by their entire circle of friends, the result can often cause depression. I really like the article posted on health.usnews.com and encourage you to read it too.
What I have found when helping people deal with depression is that they all want to do better and just can’t on their own. While I’m not a proponent of medicating people whenever they feel down, in severe cases medication can save a life. What is important is that the teen suffering from depression receive counselling at the same time. Medication can help stabilize their brain chemistry and counselling can help them better understand their symptoms, triggers, and develop coping strategies.