Dark Days

Studies show 20 percent of teenagers will go through depression.

“One of the scariest things I’ve heard was about this girl. Her mom was out of town getting her nursing degree,” Guidance Counselor Wendy Risner said. “While the mom was gone the girl’s boyfriend had broke up with her. The boy was seeing another girl and it must’ve just set her off. She went and hung herself in her garage and her mom came home to find her.”

Risner said suicide is often coined as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” But it’s just one of many coping mechanisms. Some solutions are common: others unique to the person. Those who are depressed may “cut” due to the endorphins released. Drugs, alcohol, sex: all serve not just for pleasure, but also as an escape from troubles. A go-to solution nowadays is using social media as an outlet rather than personal interaction.

Risner said a list of causes to these troubles can lead to depression. Relationship strains with family, friends and significant others. Troubles at home. Stress from too much work at a job or school. Troubled backgrounds. Death of a close one. Genetics and/or disease. Insecurities emotional or physical.

Risner said effects of depression could vary. They range from trouble at school due to the inability to concentrate; lowering grades as a result. You may sleep and eat more or less depending on who you are. Depressed people are often unable to find enjoyment in things and isolate themselves.
“We definitely have a lot of resources to help them if they’d just tap into that,” Risner said.

Risner said there are many ways to resolve the conflicts. The school counselors encourage those in need to come to them for help. They also want students to know they can come to them if they see a depressed friend who needs help. Even if the help they provide isn’t enough, the counselors will still do whatever they can. They might recommend outside counseling either one on one or have the student do a session with the family.

Risner who worked as a counselor at Red River Hospital worked with suicidal kids. She wants students to know she’s here to help.

“What’s really scary is the good kids who are good at hiding it,” Risner said. “Because if we don’t know what’s going on then it might be too late to help them.”