Depression is a mental and emotional disorder that is sometimes associated with high levels of stress, anxiety, and in the worst case scenarios, suicide. In adolescence, the symptoms of depression may manifest in different ways than adult because of varying social and developmental challenges facing the adolescent which may include peer pressure, sports, changing hormone levels, and developing bodies (Krans, 2016).
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), (2016), some signs of adolescent depression include appearing sad, irritable, or tearful, changes in appetite or weight, a decreased interest in activities your child once enjoyed, decrease in energy, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness, major changes in sleeping habits, regular complaints of boredom, withdrawal from friends or after-school activities, and talk of suicide.
Methods of health prevention of adolescent depression can be divided into three levels. The primary prevention method involves a universal strategy of preventing adolescent depression such as encouraging the adolescent to get involved in social activities and create friendships. Secondary prevention targets clinical sign/symptoms such as withdrawal and lack of sleep. And tertiary prevention focuses on eliminating or reducing the triggering factors thus preventing relapse and recurrences (Ingram, Horowitz & Garber, 2006).
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Greater Houston provides free and confidential support groups for individuals living with, or family and friends affected by, depression and bipolar disorders (DBSA, 2016). Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via the medium people already use and trust (Crisis Text line, 2017).
The New York State Office of Mental Health website contains access to various resources for children and families having depression problems throughout New York State (http://www.omh.state.ny.us (2017). Another state resource for adolescent depression is the National Institute of Health (NIH).
To assist an adolescent suspected of depression, an assessment of their feelings and thoughts is crucial so as to rule out suicide ideation. Safety precautions will be taken and the adolescent will be encouraged to talk about the issues that they may be facing. For example, depression caused by peer pressure or bullying.
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