National Depression Screening Day is Thursday, October 8. Health Briefs TV believes that every day should be an opportunity to informally assess and screen kids and teens for signs of depression and possible suicidal thoughts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control states suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 11 to 18 in the country. Depression and substance abuse are the two strongest risk factors contributing to the suicide statistics. To add to the shock of these figures – 80 percent of youth with mental illness are not identified or receiving services. This is why screening for depression is so necessary.
Screening for depression has shown to reduce youth suicide attempts by 40 percent. What can we all do to help kids feel better about themselves, prevent bullying, and thwart the sometimes violent, uncontrollable urges to hurt others before taking their own lives?
Be involved in the child’s life – every day. Ask how school and outside activities are going. Be aware of behavioral changes such as wanting to be alone all the time, negative attitudes, spending more time online than with friends and family.
The Health Briefs television show reminds parents and adults to let youth know that suicide is not a normal, nor an accepted response to stress. Suicide is not a solution to any problem. It only creates more problems for those left behind.
Schools should implement programs that include peers and trusted teachers and staff and parents. A child’s life is valuable and needed. A mental health screening can save a life.