The topic of depression is not an easy one to engage oneself or others. Especially when addressing this epidemic occurring in the lives of teenagers. Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people? A major cause of suicide is mental illness--very commonly depression (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2020).
This leads me to ponder whether or not society is paying attention to the issues impacting the lives of our future leaders.
Why is it that we are losing teenagers to an identifiable disease?
This leads me to ponder whether or not society is paying attention to the issues impacting the lives of our future leaders. Before a child is read a nursery rhyme in daycare, taught the ABCs in preschool, or tested for special needs in elementary school, the nurturing and care originates in the home. Parents are the most reliable thermometer of their child’s wellbeing. Parents have the innate power to identify when something is wrong. So if a parent looks at his or her teenager and utters the words, “Something isn’t right,” just go ahead and prep the couch for a counseling session because 10 out of 10 times their parental instinct is on to something and usually right!
As a previous high school teacher, the greatest sign of depression within a student was isolation. Isolation is a false sense of security from others. Thoughts like these may flood that student’s conscious thinking, they won’t miss me today, I don’t have to participate or it can wait. Those thoughts imply that you are better alone than being present and engaging with others. That is not the truth. You are not a castaway. We need you. Your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, contributions, and quirky ways are all important and valuable to building a brighter future with more people just like you. No man is better off on an island by himself. We are stronger together.
Let's take a pause right here, I want to pray for you.
To the teenager who is reading this article that struggles with rejection and fear of what others think about you. Don’t you know that God cares so much about you that He took the time to craft your personality, features, hid precious talents within you, and made you unique in your own right? There are over seven billion human beings on this planet and not one is like you! Lean into this truth and believe it.
“For the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:6.
Amidst COVID-19 school closures and being left at home and forced to adjust to this new normal, I want to encourage parents to commit to periodically conducting mental health check-ins with your children. This starts with asking everyday questions, are you okay? Tell me, how is all of this affecting you? How can I support you?
If you are battling with depression, how do you overcome it? I want to give you a few tips to combat those thoughts.
WAYS TO COMBAT DEPRESSION:
Gain control of your thoughts. Think about ways that you help others because you have a reason to live. Immediately, flood your mind with these thoughts and allow it to pull you out of that cesspool of negativity.
Dispel lies with truth
While feeling overwhelmed with loneliness, darkness, and hopelessness, shift your thinking with love, light, and positivity. Thoughts like, I love being with family, I love supporting my friends, I love helping others
Overcome fear with faith. “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7
2. Get up and pray!! Don’t stop until you feel a breakthrough. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians. 3:17. Ask God to intervene and help you. If you do not have anyone in your corner praying for you, it’s time to invite someone into your life who can pray with you during these moments.
3. Seek help. Remember, no man is strongest on an island by himself. Surround yourself with healthy loving relationships. Start with talking to an adult who can properly refer you to additional help like a spiritual counselor, general physician, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or therapist. I also encourage you to develop a relationship with God and His Holy Word. If you are depending on science, there is no science without God or medicine (it may help the symptoms) but your healing/deliverance comes from the Lord.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, Ps. 91:1
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he, Prov. 23:7. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, Matthew 12:34
The book, Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyers
Deeper Fellowship Prayer Line: (857) 232-0476; Code: 493930; M-F 7:00am & 9:00pm
In a Youth Risk Behaviors Survey (2017), 7.4 % of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2020).
If you found yourself in this headspace, please stop and call the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 1 (800) 273-8255 or text TALK to 741741. For more information, visit www.afsp.org.
HOW CAN I HELP SOMEONE?
Be that person, someone battling with depression would feel comfortable talking to.
Dr. Loretta Faith Harris
Speaker – Author – Life Coach
CEO at Triumphant Living Enterprises, Inc.