“Bullying and peer pressure are some contributing factors”
New Delhi, January 22,2018: Recent studies indicate that children who face bullying stand a high risk of developing mental health issues in their teenage years. Some of these include suicidal thoughts and anxiety behavior. Children who experienced severe peer victimization are more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods at age 15, and three times more likely to report anxiety.
India has the highest suicide rate among 10 South-East Asian countries, according to a report released by the WHO. Further, one in four children in the age group of 13 to 15 years in India suffers from depression. Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said “Issues such as peer pressure, bullying, academic expectations, and changing bodies can be overwhelming for growing youngsters. For some, however, the lows are more than just temporary feelings; they may become symptoms of depression. Teen depression is not a weakness or something common in that age. It can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. Untreated depression can lead to emotional, behavioral and health problems affecting every area of a teenager’s life. Some complications related to teen depression can include alcohol and drug abuse, academic problems, family conflicts and relationship difficulties, and the risk of suicide.”
There are other contributing factors too such as a stressful family and parents who fight constantly, which can make teens increasingly withdrawn and socially alienated.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Teen minds crave stimulation, and their emotional reactions are by nature urgent and sometimes debilitating. The biggest influence, then, becomes the environment in which teens navigate this stage of development. Their minds can be like little volcanoes with all the constant pressure, from phones, relationships, and the general nature of how things are with youngsters today.”
Some tips to help teenagers cope with depression.
- Talk to them about what may be bothering them.
- Empathize with them and their situation.
- Do not try to fix what is bothering them but help them resolve it with help and advice.
- Encourage them to undertake physical activity and eat nutritious food as this will help in alleviating their mood and the symptoms.
- Educate yourself on teen depression and believe the child when they tell you something is not right.