General News — 23 December 2013

Emile Williams pushes through the crowded hallways of King High School, he approaches his friends with smiles. What his friends may not realize is that Williams is not smiling on the inside he is trying to cope with problems in his relationship, family issues and the demands of school work.

Depression in teens is very common and a few months ago for high school senior Williams, depression was a reality. Mentally and emotionally shutdown, unmotivated to exercise or stay in shape, Williams said he had no one to talk to.

“I felt alone for awhile … so I just talked to people more and acted like everything was OK when it wasn’t,” Williams said.bigstock_depression_18400418

While it’s not unusual to feel sad from time to time, when that sadness become extreme and affects your abilities to do the things you love for weeks at a time you might be suffering from depression. According to kidshealth.org there is no single reason for depression. All of these factors play a role in depression.

Physical education teacher Anneatra Kaplan said she feels that most teens are just misunderstood.

“Not being understood and inability to express themselves plus peer pressure is why teens become depressed,” Kaplan said.

Social media can also have affected on teen depression.

“People are sometimes bullied online and they look at things other people have that they don’t have and become depressed that way,” King senior Carlton Walker said.

“Teens compare themselves to other people and it makes them think less of themselves. I think social media puts out a false view of how teens should be,” Kaplan said.

Individual and group school counselor/social worker Lisa Washington says that when students come to her to talk about depression she discusses many different strategies with them. As the school social worker she can provide a confidential discussion with any student.

If feel you depressed the best thing to do is reach out for support, there are places you can go and people you can talk to. Crisistext.org offers crisis prevention 24/7 via text. Crisistext.org has trained specialized to help suicidal youth.

This article first appeared on ‘Detroit Free Press’ on 19 December 2013.

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