Rates of Depression and Suicide Among Teenagers Are on the Rise
Of all the mental health challenges people battle, depression is one of those that sap all the juice out of life. Teenagers are struggling with depression, poor body image, and feelings of low self-esteem all over the world; suicidal thoughts ravage minds and render lives desolate.
And quite sadly, more than ever before, depression and suicidal thoughts in American teens are on the rise.
Do you ever wonder if your teen is battling depression? Young people get unhappy a lot, and coupled with the frequent hormonal surges, the mood swing doesn't always come as a surprise.
One 2017 study found that the number of girls reporting symptoms of severe depression increased by 58%, and those feeling hopeless and thinking about suicide rose by 12%.
1 in 5 teens (20%) have symptoms of depression, compared to 1 in 10 adults (10%) who also experience the same. This shows that teens are even more at risk of depression.
A 2020 study discovered that while the rate of depression in Americans 12 or older was 9%, it rose to 17% for teens and young adults. And we know that suicidal ideation usually accompanies severe depression.
Our teenage girls and boys are at risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. School performance, sexual orientation, and relationship issues are just some things that depress the teen that’s just learning about life. Your child may even feel inadequate and worthless over their grades. Perhaps, prolonged screen time even contributes to depression in teens.
We also have to understand that teen depression isn't just mood swings or distress. It goes beyond that.
When you notice your teen's sadness goes on for up to two weeks, it's not just sadness; it’s time to seek psychiatric help.
How to Know if Someone is Battling Depression
There are many warning signs of depression to watch out for. If you, your teen, or a relative shows some of the following symptoms, you may save a life by seeking help ASAP:
- Always expressing a negative outlook about life
- Losing interest in things they once enjoyed
- Exhibiting feelings of worthlessness and shame
- Sleeping and eating more or less than they used to
- Talking about suicide, even in subtle jokes
- Withdrawal from friends
- Staying in their rooms for long hours and losing weight
- Relying on marijuana and alcohol to feel good
- Lack of confidence
If you hear someone say, "life's not worth living" or "I'm a failure," it would help to not take their words lightly. A lot is probably going on in their head, and taking time to talk with them could be the best thing you ever did. If you feel it's beyond your capacity, do not hesitate to seek help from a mental health expert.
Teen Depression and Heredity
Yes, depression can run in families. Teen depression is more prevalent in individuals with a family history of depression.
Best Way to Treat Depression
Depression comes with both physical and psychological symptoms. There are medications (pharmacotherapy) for depression, but supportive counseling and pharmacotherapy are more effective when used together than either alone.
Family therapy can also prove helpful if family conflict contributes to the teen’s depression.
Teens cannot do this alone. They need support from their family, friends, as well as a mental healthcare provider.
Depression is a chronic mental illness that needs immediate attention. Even when it doesn't lead to suicide, it saps the juice out of everything that makes life worth living.
Whether it's you or a loved one battling signs of depression, seek help immediately, and you may be saving a life.