Recently Chloe Pearson, a research specialist and freelance writer contacted me with the following article. She volunteers for ConsumerHealthLabs.com because she understands that in order for consumers to make the best decisions about their health they need reliable, well-researched information on which to base those decisions. And that’s precisely what everyone at Consumer Health Labs aims to do as they explore and interpret new health-related data and research. here is her story and message.
"For as long as I can remember, my good friend Tessa struggled with depression. Somewhat socially awkward, she faced constant bullying and criticism in high school for not “fitting in.” She eventually turned to drugs and alcohol in an effort to cope with her loneliness, but instead found an even deeper sadness than she’d ever known: she told me once that pain was her only constant in life, and she wasn’t sure how much longer she wanted to fight it. Fortunately Tessa’s family helped her find a wonderful addiction treatment center, and she’s now found the happiness to embrace life wholeheartedly. Sadly, I know there are many who don’t find help in time.
Suicide can affect anyone at any age, but when it happens to a young person it is particularly devastating. Teens are especially at risk these days because of the many worries they face, including family issues, stress over school performance and fitting in, and social media activity, which can lead to bullying. The teen years are often difficult enough without throwing in depression or dark thoughts, so it’s important for everyone to learn how to cope with change and emotional issues.
It’s also important for parents, teachers, and counselors to learn the warning signs of depression and suicidal thoughts and how to help their loved ones. The causes vary greatly depending on the individual and can stem from events that happened long ago or only recently; they may manifest themselves in different ways and lead to various behaviors.
Some risk factors are genetic and can come from a family member who has a history of depression or suicide; others come from outside factors, such as substance abuse, suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or having an undiagnosed mood or mental health disorder. The warning signs are generally consistent no matter what the root cause may be and can include:
Because there is a big difference between depression/suicidal thoughts and normal teenage growing pains, it’s important for parents to know when to step in. The most helpful way to do this is to keep an open conversation with your child about their life, who they spend time with, and their activities outside the home. Making an effort to get to know their likes and dislikes and what their interests are can make a huge difference in making them feel safe and loved.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. For some, this is a last resort because of the stigma surrounding suicide and those involved, but having a healthcare professional or counselor who can help sort out those confusing, painful feelings is hugely important for a young person suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts.
It’s also important not to have expectations where treatment is concerned. Everyone reacts differently to counseling and medication, so let your loved one know that you’re there for them and that there is no pressure to find an immediate solution--there may not be one. "
"Lawrence Carroll's workshop on personal stress management, which he conducted with my Columbia Grad School class
was a huge success."
Neal Pilson, Columbia University, Former President, CBS Sports