Today starts National Mental Health Awareness Month and you will probably be hearing from me a time or two on that topic this month. The beautiful boy in this picture is my grandson Aiden, he was 13 years old at the time. Three years later, early in the morning on Monday, March 20 this year, we lost him as a result of mental illness, his diagnosis was “depression”. Aiden was also obsessive-compulsive. Here are North Carolina resources if you suspect teen depression in your child. Your outcome CAN and WILL be better.
We first noticed Aiden’s depression right around the time this photo was taken at my friend’s house in Holden Beach, North Carolina. It was subtle at first and we chalked it up to the fact that he was becoming a teenager. He slept quite a bit, started pulling away from the family, and became obsessed later on with a girl who lived in another state that he met through a friend. I will feature Aiden and his entire story in an upcoming blog. Right now, let’s talk about your teenager.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every five teenagers suffers from true depression. Not teen angst but mental illness. The kind that can kill. Every two hours and 11 minutes a person under the age of 25 completes suicide. We know this is serious. But what do you do if you suspect your teenager is truly depressed? How do you talk to them about it? How can you convince them to take part in their treatment? Family for Depression Awareness can answer those questions as I am not a professional. Be very careful and diligent if you need treatment for your child. Some agencies treat the “behavior” and not the disease itself.
I spoke with a therapist I trust about some resources she recommends if you suspect your teen is in pain and suffering. She gave me these suggestions:
Mental Health America of Central Carolinas: 704-365-3454
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: AFSP.org
American Association of Suicidology :suicidology.org
And the most important number to know in a crisis: 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline
Let’s not get that far. Notice, watch, talk, treat, reinforce and if they threaten suicide believe them.