Issues - child health - Teen depression rises
More and more teens
are becoming depressed
The numbers of young people suffering from
depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert
Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now
Unless doctors recognise the problem, more could slip through
the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating
Centre for Mental Health.
Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published
next year. Professor Kendall says a lot more needs to be done
to treat the illness.
"We know that between 10 and 19 years old the third leading
cause of death is now suicide, and suicide and depression
tend to go hand in hand," he said.
Kirsty, 17, has suffered from depression since she was 13.
"It's not a nice problem to have. It's horrible. I think
it's because people can't see it so you might appear bubbly
and happy but inside you are feeling really unhappy,"
Beth, 18, was about 10 when her symptoms started and she became
Beth had severe depression
"There's just no point in being alive. There's no reason
to exist really. It's a struggle to do the simplest of things.
I can't get dressed in the morning, I can't feed myself. It's
just awful," she said.
Professor Kendall warned: "If we don't recognise that
children and adolescents are getting depressed then we are
not going to realise those that are likely to kill themselves."
He said that GPs in particular, but psychiatrists as well,
found it difficult to accept that children and adolescents
"Unless we are prepared to make the investment in providing
the right infrastructure and the right treatments for children
we may be setting ourselves up for a much bigger problem later
in their lives," he said.