Monday, August 10, 2009

Depression Increasing

Calls into suicide crisis centers have substantially increased during the past year — 54,054 calls in the last recorded month alone — with between 20 to 30 percent of calls being specifically linked to economic distress. As a result, SAMHSA has a Link to a toolkit for primary care providers, including school staff, to assist in screening for depression. The link will be included at the end of this post. Economic factors don't just impact those who work and pay bills. The children of our national are impacted just as strongly. All across the country kids are getting ready to return to school. This is a huge financial burden for many families. Many children drop out of school because they cannot afford the needed supplies to go to school. Schools have created huge and expensive lists of must have items for each grade. The days of pencils, pens and notebooks are long gone. Imagine how a child must feel when all his peers are returning to their new classes with shiny new supplies, and brand new clothes, while they are using old stuff that maybe torn and dirty. Depression can be a child thing as well as an adult issue. Children may act differently when depressed though. A child who is struggling with depression will likely be angry, irritable, maybe aggressive and in some cases violent. Many depressed kids end up being punished for bad behavior when in fact they are hurting more than they can say. Primary care doctors must develop an ability to screen for depression in the smallest of patients. Teachers and school administrators need to know how to identify a child in trouble and refer them appropriately. Sometimes just figuring out the child is struggling is enough to provide a solution. It doesn't always have to end up with medication. But it certainly doesn't need to end up at an emergency room either. Please review the tool kit and discuss this with your pediatrician or family doctor. We all need to be responsible for providing our kids with the opportunity to get the help they may need.

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