The holiday season is filled with peace and joy for many, yet sadness and despair for others, creating the perfect storm for the onset or worsening of depression.
As a parent or other caregiver, do you feel confident you would know if your child was experiencing depression? And if your child was, would you know what to do?
If you are questioning your ability to discern typical teen behavior from something more serious, you’re not alone. According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health from the University of Michigan, 40% of parents surveyed said they feel they would have a hard time telling normal ups and downs from possible depression in their tweens and teens. In addition, 30% of parents were concerned with recognizing signs and symptoms of teen depression due to youth being good at hiding their feelings.
It is important to know that teen depression presents itself differently than adult depression in several ways. In the previous tip, Know! The Red Flags of Teen Depression, we provided tips for talking with your teen on the subject, and shared the signs and symptoms of depression, specific to teens, so that parents are better armed to recognize even subtle hints.
In this tip we focus on how parents and other caregivers can help teens who are, in fact, experiencing depression during the holiday season and beyond (with these tips from HelpGuide: Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression):
Encourage Social Connection
If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.
Everyone has a role in prevention. By reading this Know! Parent Tip today, you’re doing your part to prevent substance misuse and create a healthier world for all.
We created these free parent tips to empower parents like you to protect the young person in your life from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. However, we rely on donations from people like you to provide these tips. If you found this tip interesting or helpful, please consider donating at preventionactionalliance.org/donate.
Know! Parent Tips are provided by Prevention Action Alliance with support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Education, and Start Talking!.
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It’s December; tis the season to be jolly. That’s easier said than done for many people, adults and teens alike. All the hustle and bustle can worsen the symptoms of those who already suffer from anxiety and depression into. And for others, the holidays can create the perfect storm for the onset of symptoms.
Holiday parties, family gatherings, the overabundance of social media pics and posts, the loss of a loved one, divorce or other family separation, financial concerns, less sleep, indulging in unhealthy foods and drinks, are all contributing factors to people of all ages feeling overwhelmed, anxious and many times, depressed this time of the year.
For some teens, feeling depressed can cause them to withdraw and avoid social interactions, which oftentimes leads to further sadness and loneliness – a downward spiral that can easily spin out of control. These feelings, which may be more easily managed during other times of the year, may be intensified in the midst of the holiday season.
As parents and other caregivers of young people, it is vital to be aware of the many signs and symptoms of teen depression (according to HelpGuide: Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression):
When considering the red flags for depression, it is important to know that they may look very different in young people versus adults.
Irritability, anger, or hostility: The predominant mood in a depressed teen is oftentimes irritability, as opposed to sadness. It is common for a depressed youth to be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or prone to angry outbursts.
Unexplained aches and pains: When a physical exam turns up zero answers to your child’s chronic headaches, stomachaches and such, the cause may be due to depression.
Extreme sensitivity to criticism: It is common for young people who are depressed to experience feelings of worthlessness, which makes them even more vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure than their teenage peers.
Withdrawing from some, but not all people: Depressed teens typically maintain at least some friendships, while depressed adults tend to isolate themselves. Depressed youth, however, are known to socialize less, pull away from their parents, and start hanging out with a new crowd.
You are now aware of the many potential triggers of teen depression this time of the year. You are also aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for when it comes to youth who are depressed. Now it’s time to start up a conversation with your child, as communication is key.
How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. When talking with your child, focus on listening, not lecturing. Be gentle but persistent, knowing that it can be extremely difficult for a teen to express having feelings of sadness and depression. Acknowledge their feelings, even if it seems silly or irrational to you. In the end, trust your gut. If your child won’t open up to you, but you know there is something more going on, consider reaching out to a school counselor, teacher, or mental health professional. The essential piece is to get them talking.
Whether you question if there is a potential issue of depression or not, talking regularly with your son or daughter on topics such as this will help to build and foster a strong relationship between the two of you.
Knox County, OH – On Saturday, Knox County residents joined communities across the nation to participate in National Drug Take Back Day. Locally, nearly 110 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medications were collected at five locations. This year’s event also included the collection of liquids and needle syringes.
The Knox Substance Abuse Action Team (KSAAT) coordinated the fall roundup with the assistance local law enforcement and volunteers. Armed representatives from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Fredericktown Police Department, Danville Police Department and the Mount Vernon Police Department staffed each location with the help of adults from KSAAT and youth from the Teen Advisory Council (TAC).
Collection amounts for the different locations included: 72.2 lbs. in Mount Vernon at the Knox County Health Department and Knox Community Hospital Medical Pavilion; 16.16 lbs. collected at Centerburg Foster’s Pharmacy; and 21.5 lbs. collected at the Fredericktown Police Department. Collection amounts were not available for the Danville site.
The next county-wide drug take back day will be April 25, 2020. However, local residents can always anonymously use any of the three 24/7 drop-boxes in Knox County for unwanted medications. The drop-boxes are located at the Mount Vernon Police Department, Fredericktown Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. The 24/7 drop off boxes are for prescription or over-the county medications only; no liquids, inhalers, or illegal drugs should be left in these boxes. Free Deterra drug deactivation bags are also available for home disposal from KSAAT at the Knox County Health Department.
For more information, contact Tina Cockrell, KSAAT coordinator, at the Knox County Health Department, 740-392-2200, ext. 2229
Chloe Mealey, a member of the Teen Advisory Council of Knox County, has been named a recipient of the Youth Advocate Award for 2019 from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio (ADAPAO). The ADAPAO youthprevention awards honor excellence in and commitment to prevention in Ohio among young people. Members of ADAPAO nominate youth for the award who are engaged in prevention in their communities and around the state.
Teen Advisory Council (TAC) is a youth-led prevention group, representing all Knox County schools, grades 9-12. It is a joint program of the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team (KSAAT) and New Directions Delta project.
A junior at Fredericktown High School, Chloe has made quite an impact in her first full year with TAC, said Tina Cockrell, KSAAT program coordinator and co-advisor for TAC. Chloe volunteers for Drug Take Back Days, serves on the planning committee for the TAC Color Run, led a table topic at Youth Leadership Day and traveled to Texas to learn about the Strategic Prevention Framework.
“Chloe exemplifies her role as a prevention advocate and role model to her peers,” said Cockrell. “Her dedication to TAC’s mission and her drive to create healthier lifestyles among her peers exemplifies her advocacy efforts.”
TAC members actively work to end dating and sexual violence among teens, as well as prevention of alcohol, tobacco and substance use. TAC members receive leadership training, gain knowledge of critical issues impacting teens, learn about the Knox County community, and have the opportunity to participate in professional development and advocacy events.
ADAPAO is a membership-based, not-for-profit association that serves as the voice of prevention in Ohio, with a specific focus on preventing alcohol, tobacco, other drug abuse and other behavioral health problems. For more information, visit www.adapao.org.
For more information on TAC, visit ksaat.org/teen-advisory-council.
Observed on the 31st of August each year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change to reduce the harms associated with drug use.
The Knox Substance Abuse Action Team invites members of the community to begin donating old shoes to be used in a display representing those lost to drug overdose. Donations are being accepted at the following organizations in Mount Vernon: Freedom Center, Hospice of Knox County, Knox Community Hospital Volunteer Desk, Knox County Health Department, and Riverside Recovery.
For additional information, please contact Tina Cockrell at 740-392-2200 ext. 2229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
KSAAT is a coalition of community members dedicated to reducing substance abuse among youth and adults in Knox County. For more information or to volunteer visit ksaat.org.
The Knox County Teen Advisory Council has received both state and national attention with their message "Be a Parent, Not a Friend".
An article about the public service announcement can be found in the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services May 2019 e-update and nationally in the CADCA Coalitions Online newsletter.
The message, “Be a Parent, Not a Friend,” reminds parents of the dangers of providing a ‘safe’ environment for youth to drink. The production was entirely youth-led, and TAC members created the characters, wrote the script, identified shoot locations, performed in lead roles and as supporting cast, and assisted with the production of this PSA.”
Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, Ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half (46 percent) of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.
“Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” is a public awareness campaign to provide parents with accurate information about the health risks of underage drinking and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth. The campaign encourages parents and the community to send a unified message at prom and graduation time that teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable. It is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol.
Here are the facts:
On April 30, 2019 members of the Teen Advisory Council joined 2,000 teens from 75 cities all for one movement. We Are The Majority of teens who don’t use drugs or alcohol.
Who: KSAAT & Local Law Enforcement Agencies
What: Drug Take Back Day
When: Saturday, April 27, 2019 10 AM – 2 PM
Pounds collected: 138.08 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medication
Knox County, OH – Saturday, April 27, 2019, Knox County participated in the National Drug Take Back Day. We are thankful to announce were able to collect 138.08 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medication. This year also brought in quite a few liquids, patches and inhalants.
Specifically, 74 lbs. were collected in Mount Vernon at the Knox County Health Department and new location Knox Community Hospital Medical Pavilion, 31.08 lbs. were collected at Centerburg Foster’s Pharmacy, 16 lbs. were collected at the Danville Police Department and 17 lbs. were collected at the Fredericktown Police Department.
KSAAT would like to thank the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Fredericktown Police Department, Danville Police Department and the Mount Vernon Police Department for leading each drop-off location as well as all of the KSAAT and Teen Advisory Council (TAC) volunteers that donated their time to make this event a success.
The next county-wide drug take back day will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2019. However, you can always anonymously drop off your medications at our three 24/7 drop-boxes. These drop-boxes are located at the Mount Vernon Police Department, Fredericktown Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. Please do not dispose of liquids, inhalers, or illegals in these drop-boxes.
KSAAT thanks all of you for cleaning out your medicine cabinets to make Knox County safer! Unite in our Fight!