The transition from childhood to adulthood may be not so easy to handle. That time in one’s life comes with a lot of pressures and external influences that tend to be effective. Having it as one of the reasons teenagers and adolescents are at risk of  depression and suicide.

Having gone through certain situations in the midst of the transition, many teenagers tend to have difficulties and as new as this is to them, they won’t always know how to work around the problems and challenges they face.

Does it happen though, that they find it in them to try and seek for help? It most certainly does. But the society we live in doesn’t make it any easier for them to bring about their issues and seek assistance either from parents, teachers or any other authority figures they have. Which would then have them turn to the only people they have available. Their friends and peers. That is not much of a wise act, most of us would agree. Which then the resultant of that may be them making decisions that are uncalled for.

Though the stigma around mental health prevents troubled teenagers from seeking support from those closest to them, It has been mentioned by Dr Naidoo from the Netcare Akeso that there are some potential warning signs that may come across a person’s behaviour as indications of whether they are troubled or not. Signs that are of depression.

  • Detoriation in schoolwork 
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits 
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Lack of interest in fun activities
  • Emotional reactions that seem out of character
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These are some of the behavioral signs to identify that may indicate if a child or teenager is experiencing depression.All this can a toll on the mental health and well-being of teenagers and in severe cases can lead to suicidal thoughts and people who are suicidal do not always signal their intentions. So it is of outmost importance that if there is any cause for concern, however, it is always better to reach out to the person and try to assist them to find mental health support.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 800 000 people die by suicide globally each year. That is an average of one person every 40 seconds. 17% percent of them are teenagers and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.

Tragically, too many precious young lives are lost every year to suicide. Greater awareness in society is needed to break down the stigma around mental health issues and ensure families and caregivers are better equipped to recognise and assist suicidal individuals before its too late.

By Worshiper Mkhize

Worshiper is a writer/blogger, and Head of Content at TMS Mag.