Conquering teen depression


Photographer: Abigail Ignasiak

Written by Abigail Ignasiak, Student Writer

Depression, particularly in teenagers, is often described as an invisible illness. Its symptoms can easily be played off as teenagers just acting like…well, teenagers. A student acting moody, becoming disconnected from their parents, and sleeping hours and hours on end after school can be labeled as normal adolescent behavior, a time that is not noted for leveled out moods or stable behavior.

Rapid changes in hormonal balance, coming up with responses to peer pressure, and warped perceptions of the world make being an adolescent a time of extreme emotional turmoil.

The causes of depression are both numerous and complex. Some students have a greater likelihood of developing it, such as those who have first-degree relatives who have depression, those who live in highly stressful environments, or those who have experienced a traumatic event.

According to I Need A LightHouse, approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood. Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of depression at any one time. Like a common cold or the flu, depression is an illness that can be recognized and treated. It is nothing to be ashamed about, and there are people and resources willing to help you at anytime.

Students with disabilities  are also more vulnerable to developing depression. Keep in mind, depression is not someone’s fault. Life is tough, and it can get the best of us. It’s a serious thing.

It isn’t something to be ashamed to speak out about. If anything, depression needs to be spoken about more.

A therapist who works at Trinity Family Counseling Services in New Lenox was nice enough to respond to a few questions. When asked what a student should do when they start experiencing the symptoms of depression she responded, “The best thing to do is go straight to a school counselor. If a student is not comfortable doing that then another option is to reach out to friends and family. It’s all about building a support system.”

She also continued to say, “It’s important for teenagers especially to talk to a person that they truly trust.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, other options include: contacting your physician, calling a 24-hour helpline such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or calling 911 if you are in a crisis or want to hurt yourself.