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Depression & Suicide

Depression can be confused with feeling sad, grieving, or having a hard time.  Depression can be set off by life events. Depression may have a hereditary component. Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attention disorders are at a higher risk for depression.  Often friends, relatives and teachers are in the best position to recognize when someone is in trouble.  Talk to your child.  The idea that talking about suicide encourages it is false and dangerous.  The truth is that once the depressing and frightening thoughts inside your adolescent’s head are out in the open, they become less threatening.  A combination of the symptoms below may signal depression:

  •     Change in weight or appetite
  •     Losing interest in usual activities
  •     Change in sleeping patterns
  •     Experiencing prolonged fatigue or loss of energy
  •     Taking unnecessary risks
  •     Feeling of self-hatred, guilt or worthlessness
  •     Speaking, thinking or moving slower than usual                            
  •     Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  •     Wishing to be dead, thoughts of death, suicide attempts          
  •     Displaying restlessness, tantrums, fighting
  •     Placing oneself in risky sexual situations
  •     Abusing alcohol or other drugs
  •     Sudden drop in academic performance


When a person is depressed, uncommunicative, withdrawn and is experiencing a series of stressful life events, there is reason for even greater concern.  If suicide appears imminent, do not waste time feeling guilty, angry or upset.  Take Action!  Call a suicide or crisis intervention hotline, the psychiatric unit at your local hospital or a trusted family practitioner.  Further information can be found on the Internet by using the keyword DEPRESSION, or sites such as  www.search-institute.org.