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Depression - young people

The teenage years can be a difficult time for young people in that they have to deal with many changes - physically, socially and emotionally. So many changes can make the transition from childhood into adulthood seem quite a daunting and sometimes traumatic experience – they are very sensitive to what is happening to them and around them, but they do not always have the experience, or be equipped with the skills to be able to deal with issues and anxieties that they are facing.

While it is quite usual for a young person to feel highs and lows during this transition period, for some young people, this turns into depression.

What can trigger depression in young people?

  • parents divorcing or separating;
  • feeling ignored and unloved;
  • not being listened to;
  • losing friends;
  • changing school;
  • moving home;
  • worries about their looks;
  • confused about sexuality;
  • health issues or concerns;
  • exams; or
  • abuse that is happening in the home such as domestic abuse or child abuse by an adult.

What may seem like small problems or worries to an adult can seem like a much bigger problem to a young person.

Did you know…?

  • Approximately 4 in every 100 young people suffer from depression.
  • Boys are more likely to get depressed than girls and suffer from serious mental ill health.

What are the signs?

While young people can sometimes seem unhappy and quiet, you may feel that this is more than just a phase. Signs may include:

  • being unable to sleep;
  • eating too much or too little;
  • mood swings;
  • staying in their bedroom all day;
  • giving up interests and hobbies;
  • crying;
  • avoiding friends and family;
  • finding it hard to do their schoolwork;
  • not caring about what they look like; or
  • talking about death or having suicidal thoughts.

If your teenager is suffering from depression they will need help

How to help

  • Don’t ignore their worries and take any talk of suicide seriously.
  • Get them to talk about their worries.
  • You should listen, try to understand what they are going through and get professional help if you need to.
  • If they don’t feel they can talk to you, there are a number of help lines they can contact.
  • If you are still concerned, help them to see their Doctor or School Nurse. They may want you to come with them or may like to go alone (even if they go alone, they will still need your support).
  • The Doctor can discuss ways to help which may involve a referral to a trained therapist or counsellor. Support your child to access any help that is recommended.

Follow the link below for further information

Local Child and Mental Health Adolescent website

Coping with Self Harm - Guide for parents and carers (Click on link below)

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