Mental Health


According to Mental Health America, one in every five young adult has clinical depression. Things like bullying, peer pressure, school, social media, and relationships can bring a lot of ups and downs for people. But for some, the lows are more than temporary feelings – they’re symptoms of depression.

Depression is more than feeling sad or down in the dumps occasionally. It is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair, or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer.

Some of the symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in old hobbies
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Anger and irritability
  • Insomnia (not sleeping enough) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Extreme fatigue and loss of energy
  • Withdrawal from certain people – but not everyone
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Frequent crying
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm – for example: cutting, burning, or other acting-out behaviors
  • Poor academic performance
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Depression Risk Factors:

  • Dealing with issues that negatively affect self-esteem such as peer problems, long-term bullying, or academic problems
  • Having experienced recent stressful life events such as parental divorce, parental military services, or death of a loved one
  • Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in an unsupportive environment
  • Having a parent, grandparent or other blood relative with depression, bipolar disorder or alcohol use problems

How can I manage my feelings?

  • Maintain relationships with your family and friends, and talk to them about your feelings
  • Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out – teachers, coaches, and doctors can help you
  • Schedule an appointment for you to talk with a therapist
  • Stay social – even when you really do not want to, getting out of the house with friends will be helpful
  • Do not hang out with friends who aren’t making good choices – friends who are drinking, doing drugs, or skipping school are not the people who will make you feel better
  • Physical exercise and a nutritious diet – exercising releases endorphins, which naturally lower stress, improve your mood and enhance your overall well-being
  • Avoid drinking and drugs

What can I do to help a depressed friend?

  • Talk to your friend – say you notice they are not acting like themselves and ask how you can help
  • Be a good listener and do not judge
  • Encourage them to talk to an adult
  • Maintain the friendship even during the tough times that will follow
  • If you suspect your friend is suicidal, tell an adult immediately

(references: KidsHealth, Suicide Prevention Research Center, Mental Health America, National Institute of Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic)