Awareness of Depression in Adolescents: Pt. 2

Ask The Experts by David M. Benson, MSW, LMSW, ACSW

Q.  My son has always been outgoing and social.  Recently, he appears to be really depressed.  Can teenagers get "real" depression?  If so, what are the warning signs of suicide?

A: As the pressures of being a teenager increase, so does the rate of teenage suicide.  Part One explained Teenage Depression and identified warning signs that every parent needs to look for and be aware of with their teenager. Depression, as well as talk of suicide, should never be taken lightly by parents.  Many people overlook the problem of teen suicide. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that the number of teen suicides has been increasing in recent years. There are more pressures on teenagers than ever before, and many of them are having trouble coping with the demands that are placed on them. 

Latest trends on Facebook and other social network websites often "glamorize" suicide in a dark, but real manner.  It is important to note that the pressures of teenage living can lead to suicide. The CDC reports that 60 % of high school students claim that they have thought about committing suicide, and around 9% of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers between 15 - 24 years of age; with accidents (mainly automobile) being first, and homicide being second.  And even younger children are affected assuicide is the fourth leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 14 (National Institute of Mental Health).

Suicide has always been a "taboo" subject that most parents choose to ignore.  I have heard so many times in private practice that "my boy/girl would never even think of committing suicide."  Teen suicide is a very real problem, causing the deaths of thousands of teenagers across the country each year.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
  • 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide, 
  • 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.


There are several different factors that may lead a teenager to take his/her life, but the most common is depression.  Other factors that may contribute to teen suicide include:

  • Divorce of parents.
  • Inability to find success at school. 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, anxiety and feeling trapped.
  • Rejection by friends or peers. 
  • Continuous bullying.
  • Substance abuse. 
  • Death of someone close to the teenager.

The suicide of a friend or someone he/ she "knows" online.

Support for your teenager is essential for treatment of Depression.  If your teen experiences any of the above warning signs, it is highly recommended that you seek professional help.

David M. Benson, MSW, LMSW, ACSW is a licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience and has been in private practice for 7 years in Grosse Pointe Farms. Contact him at EastShore Counseling Services (313) 447-5779, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or visit www.DavidBensonTherapy.com for more details. David Benson is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

Benson will be one of the panelists at the upcoming presentation offered by The Family Center in partnership with members of the Beaumont Coalition.

SAVE the Date
Are Your Teens at Risk? Responding to Youth and Parents
WED. OCTOBER 5, 7pm, Grosse Pointe Congregational Church (240 Chalfonte Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms)
A panel of experts will facilitate a discussion in response to the concerns voiced by our community teens and parents.  By pro-actively attending
to the issues raised, we empower adolescents to access their strengths and competencies, effectively access their support system, enhance coping and promote resilient adolescents and families.

RSVP: The Family Center 313.432.3832 or register on-line www.familycenterweb.org

The Family Center, a 501C 3, non-profit organization, serves as the community's hub for information, resources and referral for families and professionals.  To view more Ask The Experts articles, please visit our website www.familycenterweb.org.

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