SPECIAL REPORT: Teen depression

SPECIAL REPORT: Teen depression

(KWES) - The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has sparked a conversation about teen suicide.

Studies show 90 percent of teens of who try to kill themselves have some type of mental health problem like depression.

Experts say several things can lead to that depression, like bullying at school and cyberbullying.

Emily Torchiana was a target of cyberbullies.

She told Raycom station. WCSC, "I felt like I couldn't get away from it. I felt trapped because when I went home. I still had my phone I still had my computer and I couldn't get away from it."

Bullying isn't the only thing that can send teens into depression.

There is the pressure to look perfect, the pressure to make good grades, trying to fit in and in some cases abuse.

Angie Morris is a licensed professional counselor at Centers in Midland.

She says it is hard for some teens to cope.

"I think that just being that vulnerable, being that young, it affects your self-esteem. It affects your relationships and when those are affected I think that's where we see the isolation begins, the low self-esteem, or sometimes irritability and anger. Those can all be seen as symptoms of depression among adolescents," said Morris.

Some of the other symptoms of depression include sadness, frequent crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities, lack of energy, dropping grades or injuring themselves. Depression can also be genetic.

For Emily, talking to her parents wasn't an option.

"I didn't want to tell my parents and have them believe what people were writing so I kind of just kept it to myself and that's when the mental illnesses developed," said Torchiana.

"If a teen or kid can't talk to their parents, hopefully, there is an adult they can reach out to whether it is an aunt, uncle, teacher, school counselor or a family friend. The most important thing they can do is tell someone how they are feeling," said Morris.

Emily became so depressed, she tried to commit suicide.

"After trying to commit suicide my sophomore year of high school, my brother walked in on me trying to overdose on pills, on pain medication and that was kind of the wake-up call for my family," said Torchiana.

Experts say prevention is the key.

Counselors say make sure to spend quality one-on-one time with your child and most importantly listen.

"Listening by far is the biggest one and having a relationship with their children that the children feel like they can come and talk to their parents. Having that open communication, but listening more than judging or trying to give advice. Really, listen to the feelings that their kids are trying to express here," said Morris.

Teens can be dramatic and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between that drama and a real problem.

Counselors say don't take any chances.

"You don't want to say that your teenager is being too dramatic or that is just who they are, really try to listen to them. I think that when the symptoms start getting more serious and they start withdrawing, when grades start decreasing, or they start to injuries themselves like cutting, then I think there is definitely an issue there that needs to be addressed," said Morris.

It's also important to listen for calls for help.

"Like I don't want to live. I don't want to be here no one likes me. I think teens can say that jokingly but I think that we have to take each seriously because sometimes we think that they are joking but we miss the point and a tragic incident can occur," said Morris.

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