Many teens throughout their adolescent years experience some form of it from time to time. With some the problem is much greater, to the point of becoming dangerous to themselves and others. “It’s (depression) not given enough exposure” says Dan Malone, teacher, “we see more depression right now.(holidays)” Many teens dealing with deaths, divorces and other family disturbances (even the lack thereof) never even seek help that others can recognize. “In the words of Hemmingway, they’re looking for the driest, most well lit place they have.”
Teachers have one in-service day a year dealing with some problem to teens, drug abuse, mental or physical abuse, “it’s not the most hush-hush topic, but it’s at least hush.” The signs are not commonly presented to staff, but they are pretty easy to spot: What’s it like to be depressed? Imagine the world turned gray, nothing bringing joy or excitement. The feeling of worthlessness just wraps you up until it becomes choking, with no end in site. Friends and family, even personally cherished things seem no longer important and you constantly feel downtrodden.
The National Mental Health Association estimates that 1 out of 4 teens have a moderate depression problem. That number is sharply on the rise, going mostly unnoticed. Some depression if not caught in time, can tragically lead to suicide. Statistically suicide is linked to depression and each year 5,000 teens take their lives, a number that has tripled from 1960. Some of the Depression triggers can come from divorce, or deaths in the family. Stress is also a major upset for this issue; many times teens feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and expectations they cannot possibly meet. “I’m amazed at the kids that eventually need the help.” Says Mr. Malone, “I’m impressed that some of these kids are still alive.” Teachers who recognize signs of depression are not mandated to report concern to higher authorities, however are mandated by law to notify the school nurse when they see signs of abuse/neglect or suicide.
There are many willing to help you, or your friends if you or someone you know are depressed. Depression is a treatable illness, but it is important to seek help. Nikki Zimmerman the school nurse is an easy first step, be it stopping by to talk to her or leaving a note on her door. Even telling a teacher can get the help needed, or Laurel down at the health clinic. Depression is no joke, and should be treated with the utmost importance, and never ignored.