Here at Hope and Grace, we like to keep an eye out for trends in mental health, both good and bad. If you love and care for a teen, you know that bouts of the blues are normal here and there, but we’d like to make you aware of a not-so-great trend that makes those blue times something to which you might want to pay attention: teens have self-reported rising rates of major depression — specifically, teenage girls.
NBC News reports that, according to researchers, the number of reported major depressive episodes have increased from 8.7 percent to 11.3 percent. But most remain untreated, and researchers are scrambling to find out why.
The lack of treatment evidently stems from family physicians not wanting to get ask about or treat mental health concerns among young people. It’s something we should be pushing for more dramatically, as the suspected causes of major depressive episodes in teens — cyberbullying being the most prevalent — seems to be on the rise. That said, teens may not be telling their doctors, parents, or other trusted adults about the depressive episodes. Both factors are important, as lack of treatment can only worsen the condition.
We must take this seriously. The article includes a quote from Dr. Anne Glowinski and Giuseppe D’Amelio of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis: “The other problem, that of ever-increasing untreated youth depression, concerns all of us at a time when suicide is now the second leading cause of death for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years…Depression is a sizeable and growing deadly threat to our U.S. adolescent population.”
Parents and adults, please talk to your teens and open the dialogue when it comes to depression. Seek treatment if necessary, and find doctors who support mental health as a serious matter. Together, we will someday arrive at a time where mental health is treated with the same level of care and concern as cancer. It’s a day we strive for with hope and grace.