By NATHAN MILLER
Center Director/Cumberland Mental Health-Lebanon, Mt. Juliet
As school bells ring across Wilson County signaling the beginning of another school year, many students will soon be confronting new challenges and new issues with which they must deal.
For some it may mean being the victim of peer pressure and for others the target of bullying. Returning to the classroom can also mean that some students may initiate certain self-imposed pressures such as achieving high academic goals, being popular among other students or to excelling in a particular sport, being selected as a cheerleader, or winning an election to be a class officer.
All of these situations, if the outcomes are not as desired, pose what might be considered a threat for emotional instability and consequently lead to bouts with depression.
Depression, as it may affect youth, should be viewed as a serious medical problem that, if not treated, can have lasting consequences. Depression may cause long periods of sadness and a loss of interest with respect to wanting to be involved in school activities. It may also cause a youth to withdraw from family and friends, affect behavior in any number of ways or even serve to cause certain physical ailments.
The pressures associated with school can sometimes be too overwhelming creating periods of mood swings that invoke ups and downs and often times more downs than ups.
Parents should be watchful for emotional changes in their children including feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, worthlessness, or failure.
And they should also watch for changes in behavior such as loss of energy, insomnia, lack of appetite, overeating, use of alcohol or drugs, neglecting their appearance and being physically combative.
It should be recognized that depression among youth is not something to be taken lightly and it cannot necessarily be overcome with willpower, be simply wished away or cured with time.
If not treated appropriately, depression can and likely will have a negative impact on your child's quality of life.
For more information about depression among teens and youth or to seek treatment options and psychological counseling please call Volunteer Behavioral Health System at 1-877-567-6051 or visit www.vbhcs.org.