Adolescent depression and suicide

As this week’s Learning Resources present, 15–20% of adolescents experience major depression and up to 30% experience extreme sadness. In addition, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15–24 year-olds and approximately 4,500 young people die from suicide each year. As Dr. Sommers-Flanagan points out in this week’s video program, identifying and helping teens at risk for depression and/or suicide is especially difficult for professionals and parents because teens tend to be highly secretive about these feelings and behaviors. Thus, it is more critical than ever for professionals to have strategies in place to cultivate strong relationships with the adolescents with whom they work, so that young people are comfortable seeking help from trusted adults and so that professionals can better recognize and help teens at risk. In this Discussion, you will reflect on factors that might contribute to depression and suicide among teens, as well as consider how these issues might best be addressed with adolescents. Reflect on the following:

What factors do you think contribute most to adolescent depression and suicide? Why?
What do you think might be done to reduce the rate of depression and suicide among adolescents? In this week’s video program, Dr. Sommers-Flanagan emphasizes the need for professionals to be vigilant, to forge strong bonds, and to make sure adolescents know that adults care about them. What specific actions or strategies can parents, school leaders, professionals who work with adolescents, and/or community members take to do this, and on a larger scale, prevent/treat depression and prevent suicide among teens?
With these thoughts in mind, follow the instructions below to post your response to this Discussion topic.

Post an explanation of your thoughts on the factors that contribute most to rates of adolescent depression and suicide in the U.S. Then, describe at least three specific strategies that you think adults who care for or work with adolescents might take to reduce rates of depression and prevent suicide among teens. Be sure to use the Learning Resources to support your thinking.

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