Between the lines …

Between the lines - Teen depression
School is in full swing, fall is around the corner and academic demands of classwork and homework are increasing. Summer vacation and sleeping in are a thing of the past. This is when we see a rise in the number of children suffering from depression, a common and treatable mental health condition.

Many teens become irritable or upset from time to time, however depression causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness or anger that can last for months making it difficult for teens to focus and function. At NOAH, we want to identify the beginning stages of depression so that we can begin treatment as early as possible. If left untreated, prolonged depression can lead to disruptions at school and home, alcohol and drug abuse and even suicide.

How is depression triggered in teens?

A change in schools, losing a pet or loved one, questioning sexual orientation or gender identity or even going through a family divorce are all triggers for depression. Childhood experiences such as neglect, abuse or poverty can also increase a child’s risk for becoming depressed. At NOAH, we screen for a family history of depression as well as it can be a potential indicator in children.
Although social media promotes social interaction by allowing teens to express their thoughts and feelings, many often share only positive feelings, even when they are feeling bad. Instead, read between the lines and look for changes in your child’s behavior and actions to help you identify whether or not they may be depressed.

Common behaviors include:

• Irritation or agitation.
• Acting out at school or home.
• Drop in grades.
• Lack of motivation.
• Withdrawn from friends and family.
• Change in eating patterns.
• Headaches or body aches.
• Inability to concentration, forgetfulness.
• Self-harm.
• Substance abuse.

How to help

Start a conversation. If you suspect that your child is depressed, talk to them about your concerns. How is school going? How are your friends doing? How are you feeling? Remember, how you approach this topic is critical.
Here are a few tips:
1. Do not judge or react right away.
2. No lecturing or diagnosing the problem.
3. Never make accusations.
4. Remain calm.
5. Listen.
6. Empathize and show you care.

Treatment

At NOAH, our behavioral health consultant works alongside the primary medical care provider in an integrated approach to treat the patients during their medical visit.
Identified issues may include:
• Managing stress, anxiety and depression.
• Family challenges.
• Grief & loss.
• Making healthier lifestyle changes.

NOAH also provides traditional outpatient behavioral health counseling for individuals age 5 and older, couples and families. Here, patients make a separate appointment with a counselor to discuss issues of depression, anxiety and trauma. These counseling sessions continue until the issue is resolved.

Our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create and manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Need help setting or sticking to your goals? Call 480-882-4545 or click here request an appointment today!