Every professional working with young high school students has been faced with difficult issues such as depression, pregnancy, drug use, violence, serious family conflicts and other types of crisis common to young people in training.
If you relate to young people of this age group you also know that often and often the worst problem they consider facing is knowing how to get rid of pimples or straighten the hair that is in disarray.
From the point of view of the psychological aspect, adolescence is a phase that requires great care. It is part of this phase to compare your world with the world of others, to live moments of interiorization, to embrace intellectual, philosophical and aesthetic spheres, filling life with these theories.
Something that, for an adult, is a simple thing, for the youngster is the worst case scenario, which can lead to developing depression, self-mutilation and even commit suicide. There are many changes to face with the natural and peculiar insecurity of the birth of independence, as the progressive adaptation to the social nuclei of the family, school and community in general.
The teenager, when trying to assert his independence, by having his profile still immature, expresses itself with abruptness and aggressiveness. And, faced with the most trivial difficulties, tends to the psychic suffering: sadness, difficulty of concentration, insomnia, revolt and permanent discouragement. These disorders, when left untreated, can progress to more serious problems, such as depression.
In modern times, because of the inconstancy and rapidity with which human processes and relationships take place, young people are the age group that suffer the most from the bonds of technology. As they seek to achieve their goals more and more instantly, they realize that they are subject to manipulation and that their choices are more apparent than real, that healthy relationships are not built right away. Faced with this impasse, many young people are developing depression because of their frustration and anxiety about not getting what they want right away.
Another important factor that contributes to the increase of depression among young people is the social pressure exerted on them, which further aggravates emotional fragility.
Finally, the lack of knowledge about this disease (depression) is also a factor that contributes to its increase among young people. This is because the lack of understanding of the biological and social mechanisms that trigger depression and its symptoms makes the stigma of the depressive a weak, dramatic and unhappy person. And that he has chosen to stay that way, and therefore, leaving this picture, depends only on himself. With this, depression is neglected by both society and the young people who have it.
It is important to pay attention to the increase in depression among young people, so that they can receive the necessary medical care and not be so socially charged.
If someone from your company isolates yourself, lives alone, does not like to talk, is anxious, lives in distress, seek help. Depression is a serious matter, and schools must be partners in this fight.
How can school help
The first step is to know how to identify students at risk. Then mobilize the family and help in the search for a psychological treatment. The diagnosis and treatment of depression are essential. It is a real, disabling disease, considered by the World Health Organization, 3.ª cause of death in adolescence. It requires a treatment that should be comprehensive, including individual, family and pharmacological therapy. And, finally, involve other students in a supportive action.
The school can also create space for young people to talk about their feelings. Also, for young people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, the risk of becoming depressed is even greater, because in addition to the natural conflicts of age they may face prejudice and bullying.
When at least five or more of the symptoms below persist for two weeks, especially the first two (irritability and loss of interest), it is necessary to seek help. The symptoms are:
- Irritability and instability (more frequent in adolescents than the following symptom);
- Loss of interest in preferred activities or inability to enjoy favorite extracurricular activities;
- Persistent sadness, easy and intense choro;
- Persistent hassle and lack of energy (takes a long time to do any task and gets tired easily);
- Social isolation (prefers, almost always, to be alone);
- Baixa self-esteem and feelings of guilt;
- Extreme sensitivity to failure or failure;
- Increased difficulty in relating or hostility;
- Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches or stomachaches;
- Concentration poor, which is reflected in the school, with the sudden lowering of the notes;
- School absenteeism and lack of motivation;
- Agitation (pacing) or motor slowness (taking too much time to dress, talk);
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as staying up all night watching television (insomnia), having difficulty getting up in the morning, or staying asleep all day (hypersomnia);
- Significant increase or decrease in weight;
- Talk about running away from home;
- Ideas and attempts of suicide;
- Serious problems of behavior.
Teens who misbehave at home or at school may be depressed, although they are not sad, but when questioned, they say they are sad, that they are suffering. In this case they need treatment, not punishment.
As for the risk factors, we can point out the following:
- Depressed progenitor (seems to be a cliff fator that causes maior vulnerability);
- Parents who are immersed in their marital conflicts and / or have economic problems;
- Perceived lack of support from parents;
- Few friendships or bad relationships with their peers;
- Lack of close relationships with friends, poor relationship with peers, or rejection by peers;
- Experimenting with difficult changes or complex challenges;
- Divorce of parents;
- Physical and sexual abuse;
- Loss of a loved one;
- Low self-esteem and negative body image, among others.
Parent-child relationships are essential in preventing anxiety and depression if:
- Talk and spend time together daily;
- Seek to know what concerns the child;
- Encourage them to express feelings, be with friends, play sports, read, have hobbies in groups;
- Recognize and praise positive behaviors;
- Monitor what he or she sees on TV, the music they listen to, the websites they visit on the internet, since continuous exposure to violent and negative content can aggravate depressive symptoms;
- To promote a restful sleep (to lie down early, with tranquility);
- Seek expert help.
If adolescents are given the mental health care they need so much suffering throughout their lives will be avoided.