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Mental health Identifying youth at risk

Signs of depression in youth are often mistaken for typical adolescent moodiness. The following signs and symptoms persisting for two weeks or longer can indicate depression. A mental health professional should be consulted.

Signs of Depression

• Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
• Loss of interest in activities; unable to enjoy favorite activities
• Hopelessness
• Boredom; low energy
• Isolating, poor communication
• Low self-esteem and guilt
• Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
• Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
• Difficulty with relationships
• Frequent complaints of physical illnesses (headache/ stomachache)
• Missing school or drop in grades
• Poor concentration
• Major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
• Skipping classes
• Drop in GPA
• Withdrawn and/or irritable

The following facts underscore why it’s essential that educators, parents, and others who work with and care for youth, know the signs of depression and what actions they can take to find help for someone in distress:

• 2.2 million American teenagers experienced major depression last year.1

• Nearly nine percent of youth ages 12 to 17 experience major depression in a given year.1

• Fewer than half of these young people received treatment.1

• Nearly 17 percent of high school students seriously considered suicide in the past year.2

• Fifty percent of college students “felt so depressed it was difficult to function.”3

• Twenty-one percent of college students reported that they “seriously considered suicide.”4

• Depression is a leading impediment to academic performance.4

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2. U.S. CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance
3. HalfOfUs.org, Half of Us, mtvU and The Jed Foundation
4. National College Health Assessment

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