You Are Not Alone

Natalie Petticolas, Staff Writer

Teen depression steadily has become a big issue among teenagers today, along with other things. In fact, Teen states that twenty percent of teenagers experience depression before reaching adulthood. And depression is just the start to a whole range of other problems. Thirty percent of teenagers who have depression also develop a substance abuse problem. Teens with depression are less likely to take educational or career opportunities, and are more likely to have trouble with school or a job, and struggle with relationships.

But most importantly, untreated depression is the number one reason for suicide among teenagers. Suffering from depression makes a teen twelve times more likely to attempt suicide. Thirty percent of teens with depression never come out and ask for help, and yet, eighty percent of teens with depression can be successfully treated. There is, however, a difference between depression and just feeling sad, moody, or down. Depression is classified as a feeling of sadness or hopelessness that lasts for more than two weeks.

Some warning signs include: Feelings of guilt or worthlessness, lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, inability to concentrate or make decisions, feeling incapable of doing simple tasks, and a desire to be alone. There are many, many different reason for teen depression. Problems at home such as divorce, substance abuse or physical abuse can all be contributing factors, along with bullying, low self esteem, stress over school, or issues concerning sexuality. All of these can result in depression. But there are ways to treat depression through antidepressants or therapy.

The best way to treat depression is to get help. Getting help can make all the difference in the world, because your doctor is your best chance at treating depression. But not just your doctor can help. The counselors here at Lake City are always up for talking, and so our the teachers and staff. There is, of course, therapy, but there are a lot of little things you can also do . Participating in activities are shown to be beneficial, and even little things like personal grooming can help.

Exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep have all proven to have a positive effect on a person’s mental state. Keeping a journal and writing about how you feel, or even talking about how you feel with a person you trust is very important in the process of getting better. And know that you can get better. The freshmen who attended the Green Dot assembly this Wednesday have seen people who struggled with depression, and overcame it. You can get better. And don’t let anyone belittle you if you are suffering from depression. Mental illnesses are illnesses of the brain, and the brain can get sick just like any other organ in the body. Telling someone with a mental illness, “It’s not real, it’s all in your head,”  is like telling someone with lung cancer, “It’s not hurting you, it’s only in your lungs.” Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not “trying hard enough” or “not making an effort.” Depression is a mental problem, not a state of mind.