There has been a lot of discussion about depression recently. Disney TV star, Demi Lovato and Broadway and film actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones have shared their struggles with mental health. Unfortunately, many choose to keep their depression or other forms of mental illness hidden for fear of being stigmatized, especially in communities of color. Like cancer, depression is an illness. People, who may not have much awareness about mental illness, may label those with illnesses are “crazy” or “nuts.” These words minimize mental illnesses, which are brain disorders, as something people have created themselves and should be able to control. Depression is real; it’s not a fake illness that people use to get sympathy or draw attention to themselves.
Teens should be aware of depression, so they can recognize the signs in friends or themselves and get the help they need.
According to helpguide.org, some signs of depression may include:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Tearfulness or frequent crying
- Withdrawal from friends or family
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Fatigue or lack of energy
It was important for me to discuss this topic, too, because I have close family members and friends, who have had challenges with depression. If you need help or recognize the signs above in friend, please share with your parent, teacher or school counselor, so he/she can get help in discussing thoughts or issues. In fact, receiving counseling means you have the courage to admit you need family support and guidance from a mental health professional. Depression is real, but with proper treatment, it can be managed and people can lead productive lives.