On the eve of World Health Day, Fortis Hospital, Mohali organized a talk on ‘Teenage Depression’ for the senior wing students of Gurukul Global School, Manimajra today. The event was organized in consonance with this year’s World Health Day theme: “Depression; Let’s Talk.” Dr Simmi Waraich, Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Fortis Hospital, Mohali spoke in the event.
Speaking to the teenage students, Dr Simmi Waraich said, “Depression is a condition when there is a visible change from the one’s previous attitude and behavior that can cause significant distress and problems at school or home, in social activities or other areas of life. It’s alright if you are facing a similar phase. More than 20% of all teenagers report a lifetime prevalence of depression. Hence, you are not alone if you are feeling down.”
Dr Waraich also emphasized that the signs of depression among adolescents defer significantly from adults. It is important that one is aware of this along with typical symptoms and address the condition swiftly.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) report on “Health for World’s Adolescents” report reveals that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years[i]. It is also said that half of all people who develop mental disorder have their first symptoms by the age of 14. It is, hence, important to understand, be aware and address any issue that one face around depression so that quick & effective steps can be taken.
Talking about the most common signs of depression among teenagers, Dr Waraich said, “Change in behavior, falling grades, social withdrawal, irritability or temper tantrums can indicate depression and should be taken seriously. Certain factors like parental fights, teasing in school and inability to cope up with studies have been found to be associated more with depression.”
Speaking about the importance of role models in the lives of teenager, Dr Waraich said, “It’s important for parents to maintain an open communication with their children. Societies earlier used to focus on story-telling and interaction with family and cousins, etc. However, with evolution, that has changed and people are now living in isolation in nuclear families sucked into a digital world. Academic excellence is only one aspect of life - youngsters must inculcate the habit of playing a sport and have hobbies like music or dance, etc. Life needs a balance of all these.”
She added that good time management, friends, the ability to communicate well and high self-esteem are important go a long way in maintaining sound mental health.
“In case of mood swings or depression, the single most important thing for teenagers to remember is that their life is important and just as we don't ignore a fever or infection, we must not ignore depression and should talk about it - to a friend, a doctor, a parent, a relative or a teacher and go and meet a trained clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. Suicide rates are rising among youngsters at an alarming rate. Remember that sadness or suicidal thoughts are signals and we must heed to these signals - these are temporary and will pass. Talk about depression - just like an infection, it is treatable,” Dr Waraich counseled.
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