Mental Health in Teenagers By Gracie Mac

“The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained” by William Styron, Darkness Visible.

What is depression?  Depression is a state of mind that can affect the thoughts, feelings,  and behaviour of a person, preventing him or her from leading a happy, healthful and productive life.

Life is a constant roller coaster of happiness,  sorrows, good and bad times. People consider depression as a state of mind that can be stopped whenever a person is willing to do so, but unfortunately that’s not the case, depression is serious and in some cases it can lead to more mental health problems.  1 in 8  adolescents will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year.

Depression in teenagers is often unnoticed because depression in adolescents may be difficult to spot because mood swings, irritability and antisocial behaviour often go hand in hand with growing up. Unlike adult depression , symptoms to adolescence depression are often masked. Some of the symptoms for teen depression are

  • Feeling of sadness, which can include ; crying spells for no apparent reason,
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
  • Disruptive or risky behaviour
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • You feel very anxious sometimes.

Depression and suicide are interlinked together. 1.4% of teenagers are seriously depressed and 90% of suicide amongst teenagers had a diagnosable mental illness, depression being the most common. Teen depression is strongly linked to teen suicide and is to blame for more deaths in teenagers between the ages of 13 to 19.In spite of the increase in suicide rate, depression in this age group is highly under diagnosed and can lead to serious problems in their life which may continue into adulthood.

The persistent ignorance and stigma associated with depression can prevent those with the illness admitting they are ill. We need to encourage, not stigmatize, people who need treatment for this. A major contributing factor is that depression for those who have not had it is very hard to understand and so can be seen as a sign of weakness. Openness by depressives and education in schools could help. Also parents should do research and learn about depression in teens.

These are some of the websites which you could find out more information and help.

  • childline.org.uk
  • http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
  • http://www.getconnected.org.uk
  • http://www.nhs.uk



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