Teen depression

Associate editor — news/health

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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TWO out of every 10 students, during their teenage years, will experience clinical depression.

Clinical psychologist Sonia Wynter made the disclosure two Fridays ago at the soft launch of Dynamic Mental Health School Marathon Series at Ardenne High School in St Andrew.

Wynter explained that the depression is described as “clinical” because individuals will need treatment to get out of it.

Speaking to Ardenne High and Glenmuir High students who attended the event, which is the brainchild of Lifestyle and Transformation Coach Patrice White — who herself has struggled with depression — the clinical psychologist urged them to be on the lookout for signs of depression, not only in themselves, but also in their friends, and reach out for help.

Depression, according to Wynter, occurs when no matter what's going on, there are these long, protracted feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness for a long period of time, be it six weeks, or a month, and you can't get over it.

“You know that you are experiencing depression when you feel such overwhelming and intense feelings, and you feel like they are not going to change, that there is nothing you can do to change your situation, and you feel that way for a long time.

“You can get to the point where you feel like it doesn't even make sense for you to wake up in the mornings because it is not going to change, and it is always going to be like this,” she said, adding that one can also get to the stage where he or she feels that whether alive or dead, it doesn't matter.

However, the clinical psychologist insisted that that is the depression speaking.

“There is always change. There is always hope, but depression sometimes has a loud voice. It shouts loudly, so you can't hear anything else except depression saying to you, 'You are worthless. Nothing will change. You are sad and unhappy, nobody cares',” she continued.

She also urged the students to look out for behaviour changes in their friends.

“If you see your friends isolating themselves, starting to abuse drugs, starting to become aggressive, and irritable all the time, maybe they are experiencing depression,” she offered.

The clinical psychologist went on to highlight some of the signs of depression, pointing out that not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time and not feeling rested, loss of appetite to the point of losing weight or eating and not feeling satiated resulting in weight gain, or feeling anxious and afraid all the time, are all signs of depression.

“That's when you need help,” Wynter said. “There is always hope... I went to university and trained, and I have a job simply because you all are going to go through difficulties and you are going to be this way. So reach out to counsellors, we know what it's like, we do; we do know what it's like.

“We know what you are going through,” she continued. “You're not worthless; you're not broken because you're feeling this way, you're simply trying to cope with life.”

The clinical psychologist went on to encourage students to reach out to a trusted adult who can point them to a solution or who can help them with the feelings and emotions they are experiencing.

“You all are worthwhile and there is a solution for every one of you when you are feeling most overwhelmed and broken... get help so that you can be the best you can be. There is always a solution for mental health issues,” she insisted.

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