The Truth About Teen Depression and Suicide

Tori Pederson, Writer

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Depression in teens is a lot more common that most people realize. Teens are in higher danger of depression because of stress, bullying that comes with high school, as well as due to genetics. If someone has a parent or sibling who has depression, he or she is 1.5 to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression than those without relatives who have the condition. However, depression can also be caused by events or traumatic experiences in the past.

Signs of depression in teens can be difficult to detect. Some of the signs include sadness or hopelessness, withdrawal from friends and family, difficulty concentrating, self-harm, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, and thoughts of death or suicide. The effects of depression can be very serious. Teens suffering from depression usually deal with low self-esteem. Drug and alcohol abuse is common with depressed teens, in addition to reckless behavior such as drinking, unsafe sex, and reckless driving. Some become violent, such as in the case of the Columbine school massacre. Self-hatred, and wanting to die can blossom into violence and homicide.

Suicide is the most dramatic and scary effects of depression. Over one million people die from suicide every year. The feelings of hopelessness and low self worth fuel the belief that death will end ones pain forever.

Suicidal tendencies are not uncommon with those suffering from depression. One type of suicidal tendency, which is much more common than people realize, is called being passive suicidal. This basically means that a person engages in risky behavior that may result in death, but not for the sole reason of dying. This includes seemingly simple things, like not wearing a seatbelt when driving, not looking before crossing the street, to serious actions, doing heavy drugs, and having risky sex. Those who act in this way don’t try to die, but they also don’t try to live. They don’t try to kill themselves in a regular fashion. They simply don’t use the safety precautions that will keep them from getting injured or killed.

Teen depression can be helped. One of the biggest issues that people face trying to help a person dealing with depression is that they criticize the depressed person’s feelings and pass judgment on the depressed person once they open up. It’s pointless to ‘talk’ a teen out of his or her depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear irrational. Acknowledging their feelings is a better way to help than judging them.

Treatment for depression can be from a psychologist or psychiatrist. These medical professionals can prescribe antidepressants to ease the symptoms. However, antidepressants should not be relied on to cure the depression completely. They may not be the best treatment option, because they do come with risks and side effects.

The best way to help someone dealing with depression is to offer support. Asking questions constantly is not a good idea, because teenagers don’t usually like being berated with a series of questions that seem pointless to them. Depression isn’t something that will last forever. With the right support, treatment and recovery can be reached.


Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433


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The Truth About Teen Depression and Suicide