feels a little down sometimes. Who wouldn't?
Life is filled with challenges and complications.
Anything from getting a bad grade to breaking
up with a boyfriend can make you feel sad.
Even bad weather can affect people's moods.
But what about when you, or a friend, always
feels like nothing is worth the effort, even
though everything seems to be going okay?
this feeling lasts for awhile and gets in
the way of your life, or comes in repeated
cycles, you could be suffering from clinical
depression. Someone who is clinically depressed
cannot just 'snap out of it,' and often,
they can't explain just why they feel depressed.
are the signs of depression?
of depression include feeling hopeless or
helpless about life. These feelings can translate
into feeling less interested in your hobbies,
sports, clubs or other activities that you
used to be involved in. Someone who is depressed
may be sleeping or eating a lot more, or
less, than she used to before she felt depressed.
Other indications of depression include a
big drop in grades, hanging out with a different
group of friend or dropping friends altogether.
It's important to distinguish clinical depression
from other emotions such as grief. If you
have experienced a loss, such as the death
of someone close, or you've just broken up
with your boyfriend, it's normal to feel
down for a period of time. A period of grief
may last from several weeks to even a year.
It's important to realize the difference--
grief is feeling sad about your loss, a natural
reaction. But sometimes people don't work
through their loss and it can turn into depression.
someone may feel so depressed that they plan
to end everything and kill themselves. According
to Melisa Poulos, Assistant Director of the
Samaritans and the Coordinator of the Samaritan
program, a nationwide support group for teenagers,
teenage girls are more likely than boys to
attempt suicide, although boys are more likely
to die from their suicide attempts. Girls
may be more likely to seek help for their
problems, or talk and write about their feelings
to try to help themselves feel better.
can I get help?
is important to get help right away if you
feel depressed or suicidal, or if you think
a friend is depressed and/or considering
suicide. To get help, talk to someone you
can trust, such as a parent, a teacher, a
counselor at school or a friend who will
listen to you, take you seriously and get
you help. If you think a friend has a problem,
talk to them openly. Encourage your friend
to seek help.
"Ideally, an adult who is familiar with this
sort of situation is the best person"
to seek help from, says Melisa Poulos.
you don't feel you can talk with anyone you
know about feeling depressed or suicidal,
there are many agencies and organizations
you can turn to. These places can provide
a listener who will let you talk about your
problems without judging you and will give
referrals and options on where you can get
help. A few numbers are listed below; all
are 24-hour crisis hot lines. You can also
check your local telephone book (usually
the yellow pages) under Social and Human
Services, Suicide Prevention Services, Counseling,
and Youth Services. It is very important
that you keep calling until you can get help.
Sometimes you can't pull yourself out of
your depression on your own.
"To treat clinical depression, medication,
psychotherapy, and support all go hand-in-hand,"
says Evie Barkin, Vice President of the Manic
Depressive and Depressive Association of Boston.
won't be turned away if money is a problem,
either. "There are lots of services available
that do not charge or will negotiate their
fees," says Genny Price, Clinical Director
of Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Boston.
"A professional can't say, 'no money, no service.'
There's an ethical obligation to help." If
you get a busy signal or if no one answers
the phone when you call, DO NOT GIVE UP.
Call another organization right away.
depressed or suicidal are feelings that can
changed. Help is available. Don't give up
hope in your life or yourself.
help combatting depression, you can call
any of these 24-hour hotlines:
Alpine Health Care Teen Help Line, 1-800-827-7511
National Runaway Switchboard, 1-800-621-4000
article originally appeared in TEEN