although it is so sad and unfortunate that we’re here because of the recent events that it happened, I am extremely happy that we’re here to talk about this very important topic of mental health and it is something, that I do work with on a daily basis with adolescents and teenagers, and so I’m I’m really happy to share these different warning signs that hopefully you can take back with you to really identify.
children and adolescents who need further evaluation and care and just to sort of highlight why this is so important this is not really just a st. Pete problem or Tampa Bay problem or Florida problem it really is a national issue when we’re talking about childhood and adolescent depression if you look at recent data and statistics we’re looking at one in five children and adolescents who are suffering with a mental health illness and only about 20% of those kids are actually getting the required treatment and you might ask well why is that so why is this happening.
it’s not because people don’t care about it if you think about the different barriers and access to care this is really a national issue so if you think about those families who maybe live in rural areas where they don’t have direct access to a pediatrician that’s down the road or a psychiatrist that’s down the road they might have to travel quite far to get care they might have limited financial resources their insurance plan might not cover mental health treatment and so you can think of a list of reasons,
why that individual might not get direct access to care and so that comes back to where we see these rising numbers in childhood and adolescent depression another point to sort of highlight why this is so important if you look at data that suggests how teens are sort of feeling so there are national surveys that go out to high school students across our country that ask them different questions on their high risk behaviors one of the questions that that this survey addresses is their emotional status and feelings of suicidal ideation and sadness and so about 30 percent of high school students said that they felt sad or hopeless on a daily basis for at least a two-week period about 17% admitted to feeling suicidal and about 14% actually had a suicide plan in place and so you know even one person is too many and so these numbers are really what we want to try to address and understand .
why it is that’s the way that they’re feeling and then what do we do about it so when we think about depression we also need to understand what is depression how do we define it and what does that mean so depression if we’re really talking about like major depressive disorder this is a mental health diagnosis and we’re talking about an individual who feels sad and hopeless pretty much on a daily basis for at least a two-week period who is basically losing function okay so they’re not somebody who is grieving because they lost their best friend in a tragic accident or they got in a fight with a family member and they’re feeling sad today their pet may have passed away okay that’s somebody,
who feels sad and who might be grieving or there was some event that led to a few sad days and with time they get better but they’re still functioning academically socially with their faith they’re still engaged in their sports activities so that’s what depression is not when we’re talking about somebody who’s truly depressed we’re talking about these recurrent and ongoing persistent symptoms feeling disengaged they might be displaying more symptoms of fatigue tiredness losing functioning at school so maybe we’re missing a lot more school days our grades used to be passing and doing fairly well so now we’re failing classes one thing that I think we forget about with teens were used to seeing in adult world more of the sleepiness and fatigue somebody you imagine somebody being in bed a lot with children adolescence it tends to be more irritability lashing out a lot of parents will come back and tell me their attitude has totally changed everything that you suggest to them,
now they’re lashing back out at me and they don’t want to do anything that I say and all I asked them was what do they want for dinner so you know there’s also a fine line between what an adolescent sort of typical behaviors during the teen years when their hormones are changing and their social life is changing to the point of where is now we’re worried about this kid being depressed and again it goes back to are they truly losing functioning and again you know how is this affecting their daily life and for what period of time so I typically will hear again that story of my teen has totally changed they used to be in two or three sport activities and now they don’t want to be in any sports their friend groups have changed.
they used to like going out to the movies on the weekends now they want to be in their room door closed they’re not engaging with the family as much so really this drastic change in sort of the behaviors that the parents are not typically used to seeing so what can parents do to sort of help this team and child to engage in conversation so you already heard a talk about cyber bullying I think social media has sort of changed the game a little bit in terms of our teen behaviors they’re very much focused on social media a lot of times now this is a great outlet to plug into their friends on a recurrent consistent basis throughout the day but plugging into what types of social media they’re engaged in if they let you friend request them that would be great so we heard
Michelle say that her teen actually showed her the snapchat of what was what somebody else was doing and that’s so great because some teens don’t want to share it with mom anything with their social media so if it’s not you if you can identify another trusted adult within the family if it’s the aunt or an uncle or a neighbor that you trust that can sort of plug in with your teen and just talk about how they’re feeling just open up that dialog so we have a better understanding of what behaviors they’re engaging in what types of social media they’re engaging and that becomes so very important because I have personally worked with families who the only way that they knew something was going on was because a friend called the parent to say this is what so-and-so posted on their newsfeed and so it really does become an important conversation and just understanding what they’re placing out on their social media accounts other things that you want to say to teens you know a lot of times
we think that teams don’t want to talk to adults and they don’t want to share things they actually want to share and I think a lot of times they feel like they’re not heard or that adults don’t really care what they have to say as soon as I have a teen and clinic and I have them separated from their parent it’s kind of like diarrhea of the mouth they’re ready to tell me everything that I didn’t even ask about they do want to be heard and anytime that I’ve even suggested you know the potential of may be needing a medicine or a psychologist or therapist to talk to very few times that they really say they don’t want that they do want that outlet space they do want to be heard and a lot of times they really do want the help even those kids that I’ve had to put in mental-health facilities for further care,
Because of suicidal ideation or attempts they too want the help I have not had anyone kicking and screaming I’m not saying they’re all excited about it but a lot of times they really do want the help and again just to highlight the importance of this if you think about the leading causes of death amongst our adolescents and young adults we’re looking at number one being motor vehicle accidents number two being suicide and number three homicide so we’re really looking at the top three top three causes of death with two and three really always kind of competing for the second and third so suicide and homicide are sort of neck-and-neck so again this becomes a very important topic to consider it becomes an important thing to talk about and to educate ourselves about how do we identify these kids and then
what do we do about it so, I would say the first step is a bare minimum get your pediatrician involved we’re used to sending our kids to the pediatrician for the annual well-child checkups which is great but you can also make an appointment for just a concern of behavior change you know and if your pediatrician knows that they’re coming in for that ahead of time it usually will allow them maybe to block instead of the 15 minutes that they usually would luck maybe that’ll mean they’ll block 30 minutes to give you some extra time to really just focus on that particular issue I think it becomes challenging for your primary care providers when you’re there for the annual visit and then they’re ready to leave the visit and you’re like by the way
they’ve been failing school and I think she’s suicidal and so then it becomes now a delay to get the next appointment and and so it’s okay to do that if that’s you know what’s happening that moment but again just to to have a plan of preparedness that would be a great step in just making the appointment solely to focus on that behavior change that will let your provider then get you the appropriate next step and care that you might need so maybe that means they’re gonna identify maybe the local therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist if that’s truly what you need thank you very much