Depression in youth has lifelong emotional and physical consequences, the most serious of which are suicide and homicide. There are also serious financial consequences associated with unrecognized depression.
These consequences have a major impact on our youth, families, schools, juvenile justice system, workplace and communities?and on our state.
Individuals who live, work or interact with youth play a crucial role in the early recognition and referral of youth who may be clinically depressed.
A significant proportion of youth receiving treatment by Oregon health practitioners for other reasons are also clinically depressed, although their symptoms often are not recognized as the result of depression.
Until those of us who live with, work with or treat youth increase our ability to look and ask for signs and symptoms of depression, depression in youth will continue to be undiagnosed and untreated.
Youth who remain depressed will continue to do poorly and will have a negative impact on other youth, their families, the school system, their workplace and the community as a whole. Some of these young people will die by suicide while experiencing depression.
The key is to recognize signs of depression and have the youth referred to a health professional trained in evaluating and treating depressed youth. Treatment needs to be tailored to the youth and his or her family, and addressed from biological, psychological and social perspectives.
With the right treatment, youth who have experienced depression will show significant improvement, and our youth, families, schools, communities and state will benefit.
With the right treatment, youth who have experienced depression will show significant improvement, and our young people, families, schools, communities and state will benefit.