Tackling teenage depression | Letter

Have you ever had depression, or do you know anyone that has felt this? Had that darkness creeping up your back while you struggled to tame it and be in control? Most commonly, the answer would be yes.

I personally have felt this and know many others who’ve had to do the same and are even still battling for control. It’s a tough battle to win and I’ve lost friends to this.

I’m here to tell you about teen depression. This is a very common issue around grades 8-12. A Washington State Healthy Youth Survey in 2007 found that in eighth grade, an average of 27 percent of youths reported having depressive feelings, 35 percent in 10th grade and 34 percent in 12th grade. When the study was recorded again in 2011, the percentages increased significantly in 10th and 12th grade to 41 percent and 40 percent.

If untreated, this depression could manifest into suicidal thoughts or actions. An article published in September 2017 stated, “(Washington’s) record of youth suicide is at a record high.” Forty-two percent of all sudden deaths of 13-17-year-olds between 2009 and 2017 were a result of suicide. The second leading cause is car crashes at 29 percent. Having suicide as the leading cause of sudden deaths makes a clear point that this is a big problem among our youth. We need to do something to make these numbers can go down.

There are things that we can work on that’ll help with depression already such as going to a trusted adult, counselor, close friend or loved ones and sharing thoughts and feelings with them to get support. Set manageable goals for yourself; when you have depression you may feel like you can’t accomplish anything so when you make these goals and achieve them it dissolves this feeling. Do activities that you enjoy and set up a routine, exercise or do something completely new that you might enjoy. Depression can strip away the structure in your life. Setting a schedule can get you back on track. Having depression can also make you lean to overeating, so to get in control of your eating habits. Having a healthy meal can help you feel better about yourself.

All that I ask of you is to have more awareness about depression. Know the symptoms that occur such as fatigue or loss of energy almost daily, chronic headaches, stomachaches, impaired concentration and indecisiveness, diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities every day. As well as themes of depression in texts, writing, artwork or conversation.

We need to know how to help someone else, or ourselves, to make a full recovery. Show that you care for them. Talk about your feelings and ask about theirs. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Doing just a few little things might impact that person greatly, showing that they are cared for and help them recover. This is important to all of us because it’s a very current and common problem. No one knows how long depression could last in a person’s life, but we need to help each other to end it sooner. Not everyone is alone with this problem, there are a lot of people that can help.

Jordan Duquette,

Bothell

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