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Lawmakers Host Forum On Depression In Teens
Local Teen Talks About Battle With Depression

BOSTON (WCVB-TV) -- State lawmakers hosted a forum Wednesday on depression and youth, where a Needham teenager spoke about his battle with depression.

Mike Haas spoke about how he and his family coped with his depression. His family is featured in the new DVD "Depression: True Stories."

Hass said that his illness was undiagnosed until he confided to a school counselor that he considered suicide. He and his family said that they spoke out to help other families recognize the signs of depression and to urge them to seek help.

"Increasing awareness about the signs and symptoms of depression among young people is critically important to helping teens get the help they need in time," said committee Chairwoman Ruth Balser.

According to a 2005 Massachusetts Department of Public Health survey, 27 percent of the state's surveyed teens reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in the past 12 months, and 13 percent had seriously considered suicide. Six percent attempted suicide.

More than 2 million teens experienced major depression last year, but fewer than half received treatment, according to Massachusetts Commissioner of Mental Health Barbara A. Leadholm.

"Depression among children and adolescents is an increasingly common, but treatable disease. Events like this are essential to raising awareness of and helping to combat the stigma of this condition ,which affects so many young people. By working with my colleagues in the legislature, Commissioner Leadholm, and our partners in health care, I am confident that we will continue to make depression, and all issues of mental health, a priority on Beacon Hill," said Committee Chairwoman Sen. Gale D. Candaras.

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