How serious is teenage depression? Based on the studies of NIMH or National Institute for Mental Health in 2000, for every 100,000 teens, there were 8 who committed suicide. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide remains one of the top causes of death among teens who aged between 15 and 24 years old. It is fourth among children who are between 10 and 14 years.
Simply put, depression in teens shouldn't be taken too lightly.
If you think your child is suffering from teenage depression, the following tips can be of help:
Watch out for the tell-tale signs.
Not all types of sadness are alarming. It's normal for teenagers to feel depressed once in a while considering the growing pains they have to face.
You should be worried if they exhibit the following depression signs over a longer period:
• Feeling of hopelessness or intense sadness
• Sudden violent or aggressive behavior
• Frequent mood changes
• Loss of interest over activities he or she loves to do before
• Lack of social interaction with family and friends
• Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
• Lack of proper concentration and occasional memory loss
• Suicidal thoughts
It's important for parents to let the teen know that he or she is not alone in whatever it is he or she is going through. The first step you can take then is to reach out to your teen and talk.
Share your concerns and observations. Now it's quite common for teens to shut you out. They would like to make you think that nothing is really wrong with them. If this happens, don't push it. It will only force him or her to hide his or her true emotions. Rather, remind your teen regularly that you're just there, ready to listen whenever he or she is ready.
A lot of parents make the grave mistake of judging their teens' behavior. They like to think that depression in teenagers is a silly way of getting their attention. Worse, parents become more confrontational. The last thing you want the teen to feel is guilt. There are many reasons for depression, including altered brain chemistry, which means it's an illness your teen doesn't have full control.
Get help immediately.
Convince your teen to get the right kind of help he or she needs. Go to a doctor to obtain a more accurate and proper diagnosis. Look for a counsellor who has the experience and expertise in dealing with depression in teenagers.
Give the teen all the support.
Be very involved in the healing process. Ask for updates from the facilitators and from your teen. Be generous with kind words and praises. Make sure he or she knows he or she is surrounded by a lot of love.
Provide subliminal messages.
Subliminal messages are positive words that are fed into the subconscious mind to change or eliminate the negative thoughts. When used wisely, they can motivate and empower your teenager.
Whenever you can, you can share to him or her affirmations like the following:
You can soar like an eagle.
You are angel to other people's lives.
The future is so much brighter for you.
You are a magnificent creation.
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