Teen Depression

May 1, 2012
Someone, somewhere, commits suicide every 18 minutes (about-teen-depression.com). Teenage depression is a very serious topic, it is important to know how it affects a person and to know that there are many ways to prevent self-harm and even suicide. There are many myths and facts surrounding teenage depression and self -harm. If you know about it, you might be able to save a life.
Myths & Facts about Depression
Myth: Teens do not really get depressed it is just them being moody and their hormones.
Fact: Although teens do tend to get moody those feelings generally should pass quickly, where as with depression the signs of moodiness/ sadness last for weeks.
Signs of Depression
A loss of interest in things they normally enjoy
Persistent sadness, frequent bouts of crying or tearfulness
Lack of interest in personal hygiene
Changes in appetite (either overeating or lack of appetite)
Changes in sleep patterns, either oversleeping or insomnia
Frequent irritation or bursts of anger
Acting out, such as getting into trouble at school
Alcohol or drug use
Myth: To talk about depression only makes it worse.
Fact: Talking about depression with someone you can trust, such as a therapist or school guidance counselor, can help the person find ways to handle their emotions in a positive way, and get their lives’ back on track.

Myth: Depression is a sign of weakness, failure and has no will power to try in anything anymore.
Fact: Just because a person has depression does not mean that they are weak, a failure, and are not trying. The person is most likely going through a hard time in their life and do not really know how to cope with their problems. Depression is a mental illness it can be treated with a combination of counseling and medication if needed.

Myths & Facts about Self-Harm
Myth: People who are self-harming themselves are only striving for attention.
Fact: People who self-harm do it secretly, they find embarrassment in letting people know about it, and tend to be scared to ask for help.

Myth: People who self-harm are “dangerous” and “crazy” and you should stay away from them.
Fact: People who self-harm do suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental illness but it does not make them crazy or dangerous, it’s their form of coping and or dealing with the pain that they feel.

*Note: Labeling people with a mental illness with words such as “crazy” or “dangerous” is not correct or helpful in any way; watch what you say.

Myth: People who self-harm themselves want to die.
Fact: self-harm could really be a way for the person to keep on living; no one truly wants to die they just want their problems or struggles to be taken away, and they want the feeling of happiness back.

Myth: If the cuts of a self-harmer are not severe you should not be worried.
Fact: You should not just assume that since the damage to a self-harmer’s body is not sever that there is nothing to worry about, it in fact has very little to do with how much they are suffering.

Alternatives to Self-harm
-Hold ice in your hands, against your arm, or in your mouth
-Run your hands under freezing cold water
-Snap a rubber band or hair band against your wrist
-Clap your hands until it stings
-Wax your legs
-Drink freezing cold water
-Splash your face with cold water
-Put PVA/Elmer's glue on your hands then peel it off
-Massage where you want to hurt yourself
-Jump up and down to get some sensation in your feet
-Write or paint on yourself
-Arm wrestle with a member of your family
-Bite into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root
-Put tiger balm on the places you want to cut. (Tiger balm is a muscle relaxant cream that induces a tingly sensation. You can find it in most health food stores and vitamin stores.)

Alternatives that give the illusion of seeing something similar to blood
-Draw on yourself with a red pen or body paint, or go to a site such as this, where you 'cut' the screen (be aware that some users may find this triggering, so view with caution)
-Cover yourself with plasters where you want to cut
-Give yourself henna or fake tattoo
-Make “wounds” with makeup, like lipstick
-Take a small bottle of liquid red food coloring and warm it slightly by dropping it into a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Uncap the bottle and press its tip against the place you want to cut. Draw the bottle in a cutting motion while squeezing it slightly to let the food color trickle out.
-Draw on the areas you want to cut using ice that you have made by dropping six or seven drops of red food color into each of the ice-cube tray wells.
-Paint yourself with red tempera paint.
- ‘Cut’ your skin with nail polish (it feels cold, but it's hard to get off)
-Use red food coloring on your skin

Note: Suicide and self- harm is 100% preventable, speak up and remember that if you do you might just save a life.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

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