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Raising Awareness:

Teenage Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide

- According to the National Institute 

of Mental Health, 3 million or 12.5% 

of adolescents experienced one 

major depressive episode in 2015.

- Depression is the most common 

mental health disorder affecting 

teens in the United States.

-It occurs 3 times more frequently in girls

but affects boys as well. 


  • -Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • -Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • -Irritability
  • -Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • -Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • -Decreased energy or fatigue
  • -Moving or talking more slowly
  • -Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • -Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • -Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • -Appetite and/or weight changes
  • -Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • -Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems 
  • without a clear physical cause and/or that do not 
  • ease even with treatment
  • per the NIMH

Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

Treatment usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. If these therapies are not successful, electroconvulsive therapy or other brain stimulation treatments maybe an option.

Treatment of Depression:


Antidepressants are the class of medicines that are used to treat depression. These medications alter chemicals in a person’s brain to improve an individual’s mood or stress responses. It is a trial and error process to find the right medication.  Initially, medications may lift a person’s spirit enough that they have the energy to complete suicide so monitoring a person closely as he/she starts medication is very important. These medications usually take 2-4 weeks to take full effect. 

Treatment of Depression:

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” may help treat depression as well. The three types that have been proven to be most effective are cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy.

Brain Stimulation therapies:
Treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation may be considered if medication is not successful.

Local resources:

-Emotions Anonymous-to find local meetings visit

-Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance--to find local meetings visit

Depression Resources:

- It is one of the most common mental health disorders experienced by Americans.

- The prevalence of anxiety in teens aged 13-18 years old is 25%. 

- About 6% of cases are classified as severe.

- Anxiety disorders include diagnoses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias.

Signs and symptoms of Anxiety:

- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge

- Being easily fatigued

- Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank

- Irritability

- Muscle tension

- Difficulty controlling the worry

- Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Treatment for Anxiety:

Anxiety disorders are treated with psychotherapy and/or medication. Individuals also benefit from learning stress-management techniques and joining self-help or support groups.

Treatment for Anxiety:


- This is also called 'talk therapy.'

- Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is most effective for anxiety disorders. According to the NIMH, "it teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills, which is vital for treating social anxiety disorder."

- There are 2 types of CBT: cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.  Cognitive therapy helps individuals learn ways to identify and neutralize unhelpful thoughts while exposure therapy helps them confront their fears. Exposure therapy incorporates relaxation techniques.

Self-help or support groups: 

- These groups can also aid those suffering from similar issues share their experiences and triumphs as they go through therapy. 

stress management techniques:

- Activities such as meditation and aerobic exercise often help to calm and anxious individual.

Treatment for Anxiety:


- Medications do not cure anxiety disorders but they do decrease a person's symptoms.

- Studies show that often, treatment with both psychotherapy and medication produces the best results.

- Commonly used medications for anxiety include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers.

Local resources:

-Emotions Anonymous-to find local meetings visit

-Care and Share--call 757-385-0802 or 757-385-0801

anxiety Resources:

- The NIMH lists suicide as one of the top 3 causes of death for adolescents.

Top 3 methods of suicide involve firearms, suffocation, and poisoning.

Teen Suicide

Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation:

- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun

- Talking about great guilt or shame

- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions

- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

- Talking about being a burden to others

- Using alcohol or drugs more often

- Acting anxious or agitated

- Withdrawing from family and friends

- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits

- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast

- Talking or thinking about death often

- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

- Giving away important possessions

- Saying goodbye to friends and family

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone From the NIMH:

  1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”  Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does NOT increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. Ask the at-risk person about their plan so lethal items may be disabled or removed. 
  3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. According to the NIMH, acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  4. Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-8255 (TALK). Help the individual make a connection with a trusted person such as a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  5. Stay Connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person. (

Suicide Prevention:

Suicide Prevention:


- This is 'talk therapy.'

- The types of psychotherapy that have helped prevent suicide are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT helps a person recognize harmful thoughts and learn to select more appropriate responses. DBT has been shown to help individuals with suicidal ideation and borderline personality disorder.


- Antidepressants may help a person recover while they are undergoing psychotherapy. 

- Clozapine is the only medication approved by the FDA to treat suicidal schizophrenic/schizoaffective individuals.

suicide prevention Resources: