When our neighbor’s daughter had major surgery, I was struck with the number of people that came by regularly to drop off food and share resources. It looked like a revolving door of casseroles, open ears and shoulders to cry on. But it is different if mental illness is affecting a child. For parents, this can be a very isolating experience. We too want comfort and support and answers from friends, but because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, we often are hesitant to reach for the phone and solicit advice from even the closest people to us.
Anyone who lives with a teen knows these are trying years. That once sweet baby is now a roller coaster of emotions. Parents often wonder: is my teen’s outburst of emotions normal, or is this so different that this might be something more than just moodiness? It is important to note that teen depression goes beyond typical mood swings. It’s a serious health problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Fortunately, it’s treatable and parents can help. In fact, depression is the most common mental health disorder. According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, each year, 1 in 8 teens experience depression.
Many parents don’t know the signs of teen depression or where to turn for help. Understanding exactly what’s going on with your child, finding the right treatment, dealing with the schools, negotiating insurance issues – all are challenges that parents face when their child is suffering from depression.
Some common signs include:
- Change in mood: depressed or irritable most of the time for 2 weeks or longer
- Decreased interest or pleasure in the activities that your really care about
- Significant weight change or change in appetite
- Change in sleep: sleeping too much or too little
- Change in activity: feeling sped up or slowed down
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Negative self-perception: feeling worthless or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Unable to think clearly: diminished ability to think, concentrate or indecisiveness
- Suicidality: thoughts of death or suicide or acts of self-harm
Our parent handbook is designed to help – with practical ideas written in an easy to read style, we are here to help you. This is a parent-to-parent guide and contains ideas that we have found helpful – ideas that we hope will be of some help to you as you deal with this difficult time in your family’s life.
Free Educational Program
We know that parents are passionate about education in their community and can help open up the conversation to help break the stigma. We believe that together we can get adolescents across the country access to tools and resources in their schools. If your school doesn’t currently have our free educational programming, speak up to administration and ask for them to include it in their curriculum. We have seen huge success in the lines of communication and openly discussing mental health in schools that use our evidence informed programming. Share with them some of the great testimonials from other educators who use our programming.
Your love, guidance, and support can go a long way toward helping your teen overcome depression and get their life back on track. We are here to partner with you to Get Depression Out of the Dark.