DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
Are you worried about depression for yourself or your friend? Answering "yes" to one or more of these symptoms may indicate a problem.
- Feeling sad much of the time
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling like nothing good will ever happen
- Having a negative attitude
- Losing interest in favorite activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in eating habits
- Feeling tired
- Thoughts of death and suicide
- Increased use of alcohol and other drugs
Individuals who are suffering from depression must get help.
- Find someone you trust and talk to that person immediately. Although depressed teens may be inclined to seek support from their friends or family, there are also many other people who are qualified to help teens who are suffering from depression, including school counselors, family doctors, clergy, psychologists, social workers, and mental health professionals.
- It is important for teens to remember that if a friend confides in them about feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide, saving the friend's life will ultimately be more important than keeping his or her secret. If the friend doesn't seek help soon, you should seek out a school counselor or trusted adult for advice.
A person who is considering suicide may show these warning signs.
- Suicide threats, direct and indirect
- Obsession with death
- Poems, essays, and drawings that refer to death
- Dramatic change in personality or appearance
- Irrational, bizarre behavior
- Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame, or rejection
- Changed eating or sleeping patterns
- Severe drop in school performance
- Giving away belongings
If you believe your friend is contemplating suicide, you must take these steps.
Seek professional help . It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience in helping depressed teens. Also, alert key adults in the teen's life - family, friends, and teachers.
Trust your instincts . If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary in order to save a life.
Pay attention to discussions about suicide . Ask direct questions and don't be afraid to talk honestly with your friend. Silence is deadly!
Listen, and offer help . Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don't lecture.
Back to top
Back to Issues page