As you may have guessed from reading my blog, I volunteered for nearly two years writing articles for Reach Out, a youth mental health website. They were so kind to invite me as their guest to the Paul Stafford Charity Lunch. The lunch was in honour of both Reach Out and Console. It was such a great time for a great cause!
Back in February, the Paul Stafford foundation donated €65,000 to Reach Out (on top of the money they raised for them at the lunch). But - Why is this so important?
According to the Paul Stafford Foundation, more than 400,000 people in Ireland experience depression at any one time. This is 1/10th of the population. 1 in 3 people will be affected by depression at some point in our lives – either directly, or as a family member. Reach Out reported in their last insights report that of the people who visited their website for information, 53% of them were between the ages of twelve and twenty five, and 75% of the people who visited their site reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of psychological distress (Inspire Ireland, 2012). ReachOut.com is a great resource for our youth, to learn about how to deal with tough times, and cope with the stressful time that is growing up .
If you’re worried about your teenager or young-adult, here are some warning signs to keep an eye out for:
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Irritability, anger, or hostility
- Frequent crying
- Withdrawal from both family and friends
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Restlessness and agitation
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self. While some “growing pains” are to be expected as teenagers grapple with the challenges of growing up, dramatic, long-lasting changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem (Smith, Barston & Segal, 2013).
Inspire Ireland. (2012). Inspire ireland insights report 2012. Retrieved from Inspire Ireland website: http://www.inspireireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Inspire-Insights-Report-2012.pdf
Smith, M., Barston, S., & Segal, J. (2013, Aug). Teen depression: A guide for parents. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm