Depression and suicide are certainly buzz words this month. Recent celebrity deaths and social media have been hitting the depression topics pretty hard. I want to specifically talk about depression & suicide when it comes to teens and kids. Three of our readers asked me to talk about depression and suicide this month. I always start these conversations off the same way. Depression & suicide are a very big deal. They can be life threatening big deals. Yes, a suicide attempt or threat could be a cry for help, but when it comes to suicide, you only have to accidentally go “too far” once time! Don’t fall for the “normal moody teenager” lines either. I’ve worked with over 500 different teens in crisis and I can tell you this, there is no “normal teenager”.
Depression and suicide in teens can be different from how it’s presented in adults.
- Irritable and angry – Sometimes depression can manifest itself as anger rather than sadness. This just might be the default mood in depressed teens.
- Aches and pains – Depressed teens will often complain about physical problems like a headache or stomach-ache. If you’ve been to a doctor and they can’t find anything physically wrong with your teen, these aches and pains may indicate depression.
- Withdrawing from people, but not all of them all the time – Grownups are more inclined to isolate themselves during bouts of depression, but teenagers usually keep up at least some of social network. Teens suffering from depression may socialize less. They may also start to pull away from things that once made them happy, like their parents and siblings, or start even simply hanging out with a different crowd.
- It wont always sound like a threat – Sometimes we miss little indicators because we brush things off as being over dramatic or attention seeking, but saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out.” can be clear signs that something might be bubbling just under the surface.
These are just some of the many warning signs that can come with depression and suicide. If you think you might need assistance, or are concerned, make the right choice and reach out for help before it’s too late.
For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and what to do in a crisis, read Suicide Prevention.