Teen Suicide and Depression
Do you ever wonder if being irritable or an unhappy adolescent might actually be experiencing teen depression? Teenage Depression is everywhere we look, these two words appears together as one, in newspapers and magazines, as well as in scholarly reports. Teenage depression is one of today's "hot topics" this among other teenage mental health problems, has been brought to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years after several incidents involving school shootings. The environment that teens grow up in today is less supportive and more demanding than it was twenty years ago. Not only are the numbers of depressed teens rising, but children are also being diagnosed at younger and younger ages. Studies have found that, "There are an estimated 1.5-3 million American children and adolescents who suffer from depression, a condition unrecognized in children until about 20 years ago". This increase in depression is due to social factors that teenagers have to deal with every day. A recent study found that, "About five percent of teenagers have major depression at any one time. Depression can be very impairing, not only for the affected teen, but also for his or her family-and too often, if not addressed, depression can lead to substance abuse or more tragic events". Gender roles and other societal factors including the pressures on girls to look and act a certain way, the pressures on boys to suppress their emotions and put on a tough front and the pressures on both sexes to do well in school and succeed, all contribute to depression in teens today. Depression is a growing problem which crosses gender lines and one that needs to be dealt with more than just medication. Clinical depression goes beyond sadness or having a bad day. It is a form of mental illness that affects the way one feels, thinks, and acts. Depression in children can lead to failure in school, alcohol or other drug abuse and even suicide. The warning signs of depression fall into four different categories: emotional signs, cognitive signs (those involving thinking), physical complaints, and behavioral changes. Depending upon the degree of depression, a child may experience a few symptoms or many. Also, the severity of each symptom may vary. According to the CQ Researcher, "School aged children may develop school phobia, social isolation or antisocial behavior like stealing or lying, a poor self-image, poor grades, tearfulness, excessive worrying, changes in sleep patterns or frequent stomachaches, headaches or undue fatigue. Older children and teenagers may have sad, hopeless or suicidal feelings, or they may experience extreme mood swings, engage in dangerous activities, fail academically, run away from home, abuse drugs, steal or lie. Teenage girls may develop anorexia or bulimia or engage in self-mutilation. Males are less likely than females to seek help when they are depressed and more likely to use alcohol and drugs and to express their depression as uncontrolled rage". Clearly neither the boys nor the girls are having their needs met and many argue that it is America's youth as a whole that is being neglected. Some mental health professionals say depression is increasing among children because modern life is more toxic and stressful than in decades before. According to “Patricia Hersch” It was found that by a huge margin the youth problems of the headlines-peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs-were not the "crisis issues" for kids. Their major concerns were "the social expectations of the adult world which all have to do with pressure: the pressure to obey parents and teachers 80%, to get good grades in school 78%, to prepare for the future 69%, and to earn money 62%. The survey overwhelmingly shows the biggest pressure for teens comes from the need to succeed in both academics and in life. Social factors begin affecting children as soon as they enter kindergarten....
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