Depression & Suicide

Depression and suicide are serious problems among our youth.

Adolescence and young adulthood may be turbulent times for many but too many feel alone, unsupported, and helpless. 

The Westchester-Putnam area has experienced several deaths by suicide in recent years, leading to many community forums and discussions, including Save A Life and the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course.

Risk Factors for Depression

  • Family history of depression
  • Suffering from a physical or another mental illness
  • Adverse experiences in childhood, such as abuse or lack of care
  • Social disadvantage or family poverty
  • Learning and other school difficulties
  • Lack of a close relationship
  • Recent adverse events like bullying or a death or serious illness in the family

When people think of depression, they imagine someone appearing sad or having "the blues". In some instances, this may appear to be true. However, there are other signs, particularly among youth, that may mean depression is a problem... or can turn into a greater issue like suicide.

Signs of Depression

  • Unusually sad mood
  • Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities
  • Lack of energy and tiredness
  • Feeling worthless or guilty when they are not really at fault
  • Thinking about death or wishing to be dead
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Moving more slowly or sometimes becoming agitated and unable to settle
  • Having sleeping difficulties or sleeping too much
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Avoid discussing important future events
  • Show a decline in school grades
  • Snap or start fights with friends and family
  • Use alcohol or other drugs 

Risk Factors for Suicide

  • Threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Seeking access to pills, weapons, or other means to kill themselves
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Expressing feelings of hopeless, having no purpose in life or reason for living
  • Having rage, anger, or seeking revenge
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities
  • Feeling trapped
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or society
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Having sleeping difficulties or sleeping too much
  • Being anxious or agitated
  • Giving away prized possesions

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