A few weeks ago Childline revealed that there has been an alarming increase in the number of Children and Teens contacting the service with various concerns ranging from self harm, suicidal thoughts and feelings and online bullying. Is your child or teenager feeling the effects of anxiety and depression learn how to recognise the signs below.
Childline reported a 33% rise in the number of young people contacting them about suicide. In the 16-18 year old age group it was the third most common concern reported, and in the 12-15 year old age category over 4,500 young people were concerned about suicide.
More and more Teens are struggling with Exam stress and School problems, many worrying they may disappoint their parents or just purely finding it hard to tackle the pressures linked to academic achievement.
Family life also plays a huge part in children becoming anxious and depressed with many Children and teens struggling to come to terms with separation, divorce and loss.
Cyberbullying last year resulted in an 87% rise in calls to ChildLine about online bullying compared to last year, with it featuring prominently for the 12-15 and 16-18 age groups. 4,500 children and Teens contacting childline to talk about their worries. Young people feel they can not escape this kind of bullying as it can happen at any time or anywhere, whether they are in their home, school or sat alone in their bedroom.
What does Cyberbullying include?
- Threats online
- Aggressive and rude texts
- Tweets and posts on social network sites
- setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child
- Posting pictures and videos with the intent to embarrass or hurt someone
- Encouraging young people to self harm
- sending explicit messages, also known as Sexting
Depression and low mood was the cause of 35,900 young people to contact Childline, with the age of children contacting the service getting younger, with a 50% rise in 12 year olds contacting them about self harm. As worrying as it is to see these increasing figures, it is fantastic that they are some great charities out there to listen and help like Childline. Schools seem to take matters like this more serious than they used to. when I was younger people believed that children could not get depression and teens with depression were often dismissed as being moody or difficult.
My experience as a teenager suffering with Depression
I suffered from Anxiety and depression as a teenager, although this was not recognised until I was a young Adult. At school if you were anxious or depressed you were just seen as difficult or moody. I did not know at the time that I was suffering with depression, this was not uncovered until I was 19 years old, a young mum and I was struggling with my mental health.
I began suffering from Trichotillomania disorder, a condition where you experience a compulsive urge to pull out your hair and only then did I start to have treatment from my GP and receive Cognitive behavioural therapy.I wish the doctors, schools and Parents were more aware then as they are now of Depression and Anxiety in Children and Teens.
Warning signs to look out for
Children and Teenagers get slightly different symptoms to Adults.
- refuse to go to school
- be excessively clingy
- feel sick
- worry bad things will happen to people they love.
- become quite solitary
- act very negative
- Social withdrawal and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- have an excessively harsh view of them self
- feel sadness and despair
- anger and irritability
- changes to their sleep and eating patterns.
Depression in Teenagers is such a difficult condition to identify as it can mimic the signs of normal teenage moody behaviour. Occasional moodiness and acting out is to be expected with all the hormones affecting Tweens and Teenagers. However depression is something different, Although hard to diagnose, once it has been discovered teenage depression responds well to treatment.
Unlike adults, who have the ability to seek assistance on their own, teenagers usually must rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the treatment they need. Teachers are in a great position to identify teens at risk, because they have the greatest access to the adolescent population over the longest period of time. So if you have a teen or tween in your life, it’s important to learn what teen depression looks like and help your child get the right help and treatment.
If you feel your child or Teenager may be suffering from depression or Anxiety they are plenty of organisations you can talk to for advice
- NSPCC – Provide help for Adults concerned about a child and help for Children and Young people
- Childline – ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen
- Young Minds – offer free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice, to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25.
- Check out my post on Cyberstalking for a little more help protecting yourself online.
I would love for you to comment and leave any stories you may have about this topic. Please share this post on social media to spread awareness, you never know we may save someone from a lot of heartache.