“I’m depressed.” You might say it casually to refer to sadness that engulfs you and then goes away. But depression is also a mental health illness that may require help from an experienced professional.
Some experts believe that teenage girls are at an especially high risk for depression. About ten percent of Americans suffer from a depressive illness. Some experts estimate that four to five percent of adolescents suffer from teen depression. If you suffer from clinical depression, you can’t just “pull yourself together” and get better. Professional intervention is necessary.
Because most depressed young adults and teens do not seek help on their own, your parents, teachers, school counselors and coaches have to recognize the symptoms and know something about teen suicide facts and signs. Without treatment, your illness can last for weeks, months, years, or a lifetime and can have impact on all aspects of your life.
High Risk Factors For Teen Depression
The following situations indicate that you may be at risk:
- Traumatic events or changes in your life (an abusive parent, divorce, death of a loved one, or breaking up with a longtime girlfriend or boyfriend, for example)
- Difficult coping with your anger
- Problems in school
- Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, weight gain, or difficulty sleeping
- A desire to drink alcohol or use drugs
- An interest in violence or a growing fear of violence
As the rate of teen depression rises, so does the incidence of suicide. An estimated eighty percent of adolescents contemplating suicide will give clues that they are suicidal. One of your friends may have indicated that he or she wants to “give up” or “end the misery.” If you suspect that someone you know is desperate for help, tell an adult—a teacher, a counselor, or a coach. If they ignore you, tell someone else.
Teen Suicide Facts
Did you know . . .
- Each year 500,000 young adults, aged 15 to 25, attempt suicide.
- Each year 5,000 young adults succeed.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 25 year olds.
- Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among 5 to 14 year olds.
- Young adult males succeed at suicide almost two times as often as any other group.
- Without treatment, of those who attempt suicide, 80 percent are likely to try again.
- Teen depression almost always leads to suicidal thoughts.
While the above teen suicide facts are astounding, here are some positives about teen depression and suicide:
- The number one cause of teen suicide is untreated depression.
- Most suicidal teens respond positively to psychotherapy and medication.
- Nearly 90 percent of depressed people benefit from medication.
- Those contemplating suicide can be “talked out of it.”
The Truth About Teen Stress
Young adult males succeed at suicide almost two times as often as any other group. Yes, teen stress is very real. You are physically, emotionally and mentally developing at a very rapid rate. Hormones kick in. Parents expect you to make decisions about your future. Pressure to do well in school, excel at athletics or put a lot of time into studying and community activities comes from your parents, your teachers and your peers. Social pressures can be intense. Teen stress can cause sleep disturbance, anger, inability to concentrate, nervousness, headaches, nausea, social withdrawal and depression.