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Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults in Kentucky
 
Post holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder can cause depression during the month of January. However, it can be difficult to differentiate between a depressed teen and one who is just sad, overwhelmed, or stressed. Operation Parent, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and educating the parents of teens and preteens, is sharing the warning signs to look for when a teen is really in trouble. 

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Parents who notice the following signs in their teen(s) should seek professional advice immediately:
 
  • Diminished interest or feeling no pleasure in activities
  • Significant change in weight or appetite (also failure to gain weight as expected)
  • Insomnia or increased sleepiness, fatigue or loss of energy
  • Apparent or perceived thoughts of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Trouble making decisions or trouble thinking and concentrating
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Lack of motivation
 
Teens are experts at masking their thoughts and feelings, which leaves most of them to deal with depression on their own. Research shows that up to 50% of depressed teens turn to substance abuse. The best thing a parent can do is to be involved in their teen’s life and to let them know that they can always talk to their parents about anything. If parents believe their teen is truly depressed, and they are exhibiting signs of sadness for more than two weeks, they should seek professional advice from their child’s physician or a licensed mental health professional.
 
Operation Parent will also host a free webinar titled “The Keys to Reducing Anxiety and Depression in Children” on February 5 from 2pm to 3pm. Parents can register here  for the exclusive, live webinar featuring Dr. Stephen Van Schoyck, Ph.D. and guest interviewer Karen Lawrence. 
 
For more details on how parents can help a depressed teen, you can visit the Operation Parent website or call them at (502) 265-9045.

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