“All teenagers are moody…It’s just a phase…She’ll get over it.”
Maybe, maybe not. A 2012 Surgeon General’s report revealed that a fifth of teens experience profound depression before reaching adulthood, and a quarter of those suffer from major depressive disorder. The effects of a severe depressive episode can include substance abuse, destructive behaviors like cutting, poor school performance, risky behavior, even suicide. Over their lifetimes, teens who suffer from depression may struggle at their jobs and have troubled personal relationships.
The trick is to spot the signs of depression, understand why it is so prevalent in young people, and take the necessary steps to help the child rise from his or her dark periods. Atlantic General Hospital, in partnership with the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, is hosting a discussion about depression and youth suicide at the Ocean Pines library on Wednesday, May 29, at 6 p.m. There is no charge to attend.
“We teach suicide prevention first aid,” said Kim Klump, whose fund operates the Worcester County Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program. “But real suicide prevention should start before it is a crisis, by treating depression when it first appears.”
Suicide rates in Worcester County, among people of all ages, have historically been higher than both state and national rates.
“Like any other disease, depression, when diagnosed early, can be treated more effectively. The treatment will pay dividends for the rest of one’s life,” Klump continued.
Dr. Kenneth Widra, a psychiatrist in Atlantic General Hospital’s Behavioral Health Department, will speak along with counselor Paul Ganster, LCSW-C about recognizing, understanding, and treating depression in young people. Joann Bailey, program director for the suicide prevention program, will talk about the signs of suicide’s threat and the steps that anyone can take to save a life.
Paul Ganster states, “Teens develop at his/her own pace. Genetics and environment frequently play a role in their acceptance by peers. Teens dealing with depression may feel isolated and unaccepted by their families and their peers. When you combine normal adolescent development with depression, peer problems, family problems and academic problems, a teen can be overwhelmed and not know where to turn.”
For more information about the event, visit www.jessespaddle.org (News and Announcements tab) or call Joann Bailey at 443-614-7992.
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) Counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as general ophthalmic and retina surgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.
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