Article written by 96five Intern – Stephanie Acraman
R U OK Day is one day on our calendar but we want to ask you today and at other times during the year – are you ok?
The overwhelming pressures of school, work, uni, friends and family has seen teenager’s mental health take a hit, and we want to make sure parents and friends have the tools to help their loved ones.
Rachel Doherty from Tweens2Teens spoke with Ken, Nicky and Steve yesterday and provided insight into helping a teenager and recognising genuine symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts in comparison to typical teenager behaviour.
“Depression is a long, slow slide – you don’t get it in one day.”
According to Rachel, “suicidal thoughts are very much the same”. They are a result of habitually negative thinking and it will take building strong, trusting relationships for a teenager to be able to open up about those thoughts.
Death by suicide in young teens is the highest it has been in 10 years, with suicide being the biggest killer of young Australians.
When the symptoms of depression are recognised in a teenager, it is important to ask them if they are ok. This simple question gives people the opportunity to recognise that they may not be ok, as they may be unaware of the symptoms themselves.
Today, it is estimated that 1/3 teenagers have thought or are thinking about suicide, however often is the case where people need the time and support to admit they need help.
“We live in a fast paced world where kids are pressured to work hard at school, decide what they want to do when they leave school, also working out who they are, where they fit in, their identity, etc.”
“They reach a point where they genuinely believe not only will the world be better off without them, so will their loved ones.”
Rachel’s advice to parents is to work on your relationship with your children – create that trust and strength in your relationship for your child to be able to trust you when they know they are struggling.
Suicide and depression is currently impacting far too many teens in today’s society, and should we recognise those symptoms it is up to us to ensure our teenagers are equipped to fight this the right way.
Try to ask this question, not just today, but across the year – R U OK?