With winter coming in quickly and holidays approaching, many of us start to feel a rush of holiday spirit and excitement: we may have family parties, school vacations, and a new year at the tip of our fingers. But not everyone shares in the season’s joy—December can also be a challenging time of loneliness, sadness, and despair for some of us. And for teens, depression can be especially overwhelming.
Could someone you know, a family member, friend, or peer, be suffering from depression? Look for these symptoms and warning signs:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in sleeping/eating habits
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of motivation
- Thoughts of death/suicide
If you notice these signs, start by offering your support and look for ways you can help. These tips may be useful.
Many celebrities and organizations have already stepped in to raise awareness and to find ways to support teens suffering from depression. From posting inspirational videos to taking pledges, big names like Ke$ha, Liv Tyler, and Demi Lovato have found ways to get involved. And you can too! Whether you know someone suffering from teen depression or not, Get Ur Good On has made a list of ten ways you can volunteer support and spread the message!
- Take the “It Gets Better” pledge and support LGBTQ youth. Make an even stronger commitment by recording an encouraging It Gets Better video like the ones from Ke$ha, Chris Colfer, Google Employees, and many more.
- Create a video about teen suicide and prevention. Upload to YouTube like Max Bennington and spread the word. Find information about depression and suicide on Half of Us and TeenScreen.
- To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nonprofit working to help people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Miley Cyrus, Liv Tyler, and Boys Like Girls all support TWLOHA. Want to help too? Plan a penny drive, fashion show, or concert fundraiser and donate. Find more ways to support here.
- September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. On this day, share Facebook statuses and tweets with organizations peers can contact for counseling or help.
- Send positive and encouraging messages to friends. Be a support system for them; a little pick-me-up goes a long way!
- Brittany Snow, Demi Lovato, Victoria Justice, and Zendaya all know that Love is Louder than the pressure to be perfect. Take a “Love is Louder” picture and share on Twitter, or upload to GetUrGoodOn.org, Love is Louder’s Facebook page, or make it your profile picture!
- Speak out against bullying at school. Visit Teens Against Bullying for anti-bullying activities.
- Volunteer with the Trevor Project, an organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. Help make survival kits, volunteer at an event, or join a board committee.
- Write the word “Love” on your forearm for one day and explain to people that you are raising awareness of teen depression and suicide. Share “love” pictures on Get Ur Good On as others have done. Make sure to use a washable marker!
- Start a mental health screening program at school. Find resources to develop the program on TeenScreen and get friends involved with the planning.
http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm#sign_and_symptoms. Reprinted with permission.