The Nashville News
NASHVILLE – Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how teenagers think, feel, and behave, and it can cause emotional and functional problems.
Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations, changing bodies, rejection, failure, breakups, and family turmoil can all bring on mood fluctuations for teens. But for some, the lows are more than just temporary feelings, they are a symptom of depression.
In some cases, teens that have trouble coping with the lows might be unable to see that they can turn their lives around, and that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. In Arkansas, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Arkansas’ youth ages 15 – 24.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, effective prevention strategies are needed to promote awareness of suicide and encourage a commitment to social change.
Teen depression and suicide is a growing concern locally, and may even be affecting someone close to you. According to Superintendent Doug Graham, there have been four suicide attempts within the Nashville School District in recent weeks.
“I have grown very concerned in recent weeks with the number of students that are dealing with teen depression. Students face many challenges and, unfortunately, it can be so overwhelming that some teens will consider suicide. If a parent suspects that their student may be fighting this disease, please contact professional help. Our school counselors are trained to help you or they can refer you to appropriate professionals. We have a plan to train all of our staff on recognizing the signs of teen depression. Parents and staff must do a better job of identifying these students and work together to meet their needs,” Graham stated.
Nashville Primary School counselor Tyra Hughes, as well as other counselors in the district, are trained in GateKeepers of Arkansas. GateKeepers of Arkansas is a task force that is focused on providing youth suicide prevention awareness.
The following are warning signs of suicide, as listed by the GateKeepers website:
● Talking about wanting to die
● Looking for a way to kill oneself
● Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
● Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
● Talking about being a burden to others
● Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
● Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly
● Sleeping too much or too little
● Withdrawing or feeling isolated
● Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
● Displaying extreme mood swings
If someone you know exhibits any of these warning signs, do not leave the person alone. Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. You should also seek help by contacting your student’s school counselor, calling the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or taking the person to a medical or mental health professional.