Next MCS workshop to deal with teenage depression

MADISON – Madison City Schools will present the next session in the series, “Mental Health Matters: Connecting the Dots Workshops,” on Nov. 29.

The workshop, “Depression in Youth,” is designed for parents to learn statistics that reveal the seriousness of depression. The workshop is free to attend. The session will run from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Central Office board room, 211 Celtic Drive.

The taglines for the series state, “You are not alone. Join the conversation. Remove stigma. Start prevention. Seek help.”

The National Institute of Mental Health (available on MCS website) defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating or working.

Material is available online from “What Parents Need to Know About Teen Suicide” by Dr. Aparna Vuppala, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of SPEAK or “Suicide, Prevention, Empowerment, Awareness, Knowledge.” Visit madisoncity.k12.al.us, and click the “Parents & Students” dropdown menu. Then, click “Mental Health Matters.”

Statistics prove the danger of depression and how it can lead to suicidal thoughts. Depression is the major, single-risk factor that escalates to suicide. During the COVID-19 pandemic, depression rates tripled for high schoolers and college students.

According to research, even 1 percent of preschoolers experience depression. That level increases as individuals grow older: elementary age, 2 percent; and adolescents, 5 percent. Adolescent African American mothers experience depression at 48 percent. Children whose parents deal with depression are at a higher risk of developing depression themselves. (“What Parents Need to Know About Teen Suicide,” Dr. Aparna Vuppala)

While teenage behavior can be dramatic, triggers or stressors can negatively affect a teen’s behavior. Most high schoolers deal with bullies, especially at school, but the recipients of bullying can bounce back unless the bullying and abuse escalate to serious scenarios.

Professionals identify distinct types of depression, which develop due to specific circumstances:

* Major depression – People feel symptoms most of the time for at least two weeks. Typically, this depression type interferes with ability to work, sleep, study and eat.

* Persistent depressive disorder – Also called dysthymia. Includes less severe symptoms of depression that last much longer, typically for at least two years.

* Perinatal depression – Occurs when a woman experiences major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (called postpartum depression).

* Seasonal affective disorder or SAD – Comes and goes with seasons. Usually, individuals experience SAD in late fall and early winter.

* Depression with symptoms of psychosis – Severe form of depression when a person can experience delusions (disturbing fixed beliefs) or hallucinations (hearing/seeing objects or people that others do not see or hear).

Crisis help lines are available: National Suicide Prevention Line, call or text 988 for free 24-hour help; Crisis Text Line, open ‘24/7,’ text HOME to 741741. Another reputable source is available at nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression for National Institute of Mental Health.

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