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October and Reflections on Mental Health

Yellow, red and golden colored leaves falling to the ground. Cooling temperatures and Halloween decorations (next to the Christmas decorations) are the things October brings.

But did you know that since 1990, the U.S. has recognized the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week? October is also Depression Awareness Month. According to the
National Screening for Mental Health Organization:

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for ages 15-44
  • Depression affects more than 15 million American adults in a given year, while only half of those diagnosed with a major depressive disorder receive treatment
  • Up to 80% who receive treatment for depression show an improvement in symptoms.

Depression is common during the teenage years, affecting about 20% of adolescents by the time they reach adulthood. It can be difficult for a parent to determine if their child is depressed or just going the angst of being a teenager. If a teen is struggling with depression, below are a few signs of what a parent may see:

  • Crying more often or more easily
  • More irritability or hostility than usual
  • Eating changes, changes in sleeping patterns, or weight change significantly, or the teen fails to gain weight appropriately for their age
  • Unexplained physical complaints (for example, headaches or abdominal pain)
  • Spending more time alone, withdrawal from friends and family
  • Becoming more “clingy” and more dependent on certain relationships (This is less common than social withdrawal.)
  • Overly pessimistic or exhibits excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness
  • Expresses thoughts about hurting him or herself or exhibits reckless or other harmful behavior
October And Reflections On Mental Health
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