Depression and High School Students
Depression can occur during adolescence, a time of great personal change. You may be facing changes in where you go to school, your friends, your after-school activities, as well as in relationships with your family members. You may have different feelings about the type of person you want to be, your future plans, and may be making major decisions for the first time in your life.
Many students don't know where to go for mental health treatment or believe that treatment won't help. Others don't get help because they think depression symptoms are just part of the typical stresses of school or being a teen. Some students worry what other people will think if they seek mental health care.
Depression is a common but serious mental illness typically marked by sad or anxious feelings. Most students occasionally feel sad or anxious, but these emotions usually pass quickly--within a couple of days. Untreated depression lasts for a long time and interferes with your day-to-day activities. Depression in adolescence frequently co-occurs with other disorders, such as anxiety, disruptive behavior, eating disorders, or substance abuse. It can also lead to increased risk for suicide.
If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. But it is important to realize that these feelings are part of the depression. Treatment can help you feel better. To help yourself feel better: engage in mild physical activity or exercise, participate in activities that you used to enjoy, break up large projects into smaller tasks and do what you can, spend time or call your friends and family, expect your mood to improve gradually with treatment, and remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
If you think a friend may have depression , you can help him or her get diagnosed and treated. Make sure he or she talks to an adult and gets evaluated by a doctor or mental health provider. If your friend seems unable or unwilling to seek help, offer to go with him or her and tell your friend that his or her health and safety is important to you
Researchers are studying new ways to diagnose and treat depression in high school age students. Increasing the early detection and treatment of depression can help more students succeed academically and achieve their goals in school after graduation. For more information on depression you may log onto www.mentalhealthamericajc.net or the National Institute of Mental Health's site at http://www.nimh.nih.gov.