So You Think Your Friend Has Depression

Teen Mental Health

Woman with mental health problem being depressed

            Growing up is hard enough without having to think about mental illness. Unfortunately, about one fourth of teens suffer from depression before reaching adulthood. Whether we are a teen ourselves, or have a teen close to us, it is important we do three things. Know when someone is showing signs of depression, know the risks people are at for depression, and know how to get help.

            What are the signs we need to be on the lookout for? Major ones are talking about committing suicide, acting hopeless and feeling like a failure, and a lack of communication with family and friends. If someone brings up suicide, or talks about life having no point, they are most likely reaching out to you for help. You need to tell their parents or a trusted adult. Sometimes, teens feel down, but if this is a persisting feeling, and the person feels as though they have no future, they may be showing signs of depression. They may show a huge lack of effort towards their physical appearance, and show no effort towards personal hygiene. They may stop showering, brushing their teeth, and changing their clothes every day. They may also stop talking to you or their friends and family as much, or completely withdraw from any social interactions whatsoever.  This individual may become socially isolated, and prefer to be alone rather than with people.      

        These are not the only signs that someone’s mental health may not be completely balanced at the moment. Some other signs to watch for your loved one having depression are frequent sadness and crying, dropping out of clubs and sports, persistent boredom and low energy, and a large change in eating habits. There are also several other ways to diagnose depression such as going to a doctor, or getting a genetic blood test.

Mental Health and Those at Risk

Depressed man with mental health problem

            Who do we really need to be especially on the lookout for that may be at high risk for depression? Females who are younger are twice more likely to get depression than their male counterparts. Those who were abused or neglected, or suffered a severe loss, are also more likely to experience depression. A strong family history of depression, chronic illness or physical conditions also put a person more at risk to develop depression. Experiencing traumatic events, untreated mood disorders, and countless other factors also increase the risk a person has of becoming depressed. 

Depression and How to Get Help

            Once you suspect a loved one has depression, it is important to save their life, and get them professional help. Do not brush them off, and do not ignore them. Do not ask them if they are really serious, because if they got the courage to say it out loud, they have most likely thought it through. Ask them if they have gotten help before, or if they are planning on hurting themselves. It is better to make sure, and get them help, before they start possibly self-mutilating themselves by cutting. If you do not know what to say, make sure you do not forget about it, or do nothing, because not only are you risking your relationship with this person, you are also risking their life. If you need help finding a reputable therapist in your area, there are tons of places to look online. 

Substance Abuse and Depression

            It is so important that each person can link the factors that go hand in hand with depression and substance abuse. Depression can quickly turn into a person self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. When we are not given proper coping methods, we will most likely reach instead for something quicker and easier, like dangerous substances, and soon become addicted. This can in turn create more depression for a person, and could lead to suicide, or an overdose. Those with mental illnesses also may take in alcohol or drugs unsafely or too quickly, and do something they regret. Thankfully, there are methods and treatment centers for getting clean, which help people get on the right track to a sober lifestyle.

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