For many families, September conjures up ideas of back-to-school, football games and falling leaves. It is a highly emotional time filled with excitement, anticipation and uncertainty. For some children and adolescents, though, these emotions are overrun with new feelings of stress and anxiety about school changes — everything from starting a new school to making good grades.
It can also be a time when issues like bullying and depression can be more prevalent in children’s lives. For many, bullying – whether face-to-face or cyber-bullying – can be devastating. In many cases, the victim does not speak up and does their best to ignore what is happening. However, these incidents become strong memories embedded for a lifetime. There are different ways this may manifest itself in the future. For some it can contribute to ongoing depression, as well as more severe consequences.
Most people were stunned when beloved actor Robin Williams committed suicide. Williams suffered from depression his entire life. He had the means, support and the desire to manage his depression and did so for years. But depression is relentless. Severely depressed people cannot see outside of their own fog. While it may be a temporary state of mind, it means being totally consumed by feelings of hopelessness and not being worthy.
Will power has nothing to do with it. The fact is, depression can be deadly if not recognized and treated. Everyone feels sad or blue at some point – which is perfectly normal. But when the feeling of sadness becomes overwhelming for a long period of time, treatment should be sought.
Our children face more pressure than previous generations. We have witnessed an increase in youth suicide over the past few decades, with suicide becoming the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15-24. These are preventable deaths. Take the time to engage in your child’s life. Know who their friends are. Know where they visit on the web and who they interact with on social media.
The Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board believes awareness, prevention and treatment is best achieved through a community-wide effort. This also means using high profile events to de-stigmatize mental illness while using the opportunity to open dialogue
On Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon, the fourth annual Suicide Prevention Walk with take place in historic downtown Delaware. This one-mile walk is to help raise awareness on suicide and instill hope in those who have lost a loved one. To learn more or to register, contact HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties at www.helplinedelmor.org.
As the architect and supporter of the network of cost-effective, quality services, the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board works to assure that community resources are available to help all residents. To find additional community resources and links, please log on to www.dmmhrsb.org.
Steve Hedge is the executive director of the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. Website: www.DMMHRSB.org.