It's been several years now, but I'll never forget the day that one of our children's friends took her own life.
She was so young - 17 - with such a promising future - yet she decided to take her own life.
Why she did it, we will never know.
Even though she wasn't our child, we felt responsible. What if we had been more welcoming when she was in our home? What if we talked to her more than we did? What could we have done?
She's not the only local child who has taken her own life in the last dozen years. There have been several.
I bring this up because today (May 3rd) is Childhood Depression Awareness Day.
As a country we don't do a great job in recognizing depression in adults - so we certainly don't do enough in recognizing depression in children. We need to learn to recognize depression - and learn how to get help for someone - especially a child - when they are battling depression.
I found an excellent article about childhood depression, and what parents should know. What's normal and what's not.
KidsHealth.Org says, "It's normal for kids to feel sad, act grouchy, or be in a bad mood at times. But when a sad or bad mood lasts for weeks or longer, and when there are other changes in a child's behavior, it might be depression."
The article goes on to give some signs of a child being depressed. These include:
- Sad or Bad Mood
- Being Self-Critical
- Lack of Energy and Diet
- Not Enjoying Things
- Sleep and Eating Changes
- Aches and Pains
The article can be found here.
Kids of all ages can suffer from depression. Recently in the news, a successful college softball player from James Madison University took her own life, right in the middle of softball season. The school on Monday just decided to end the team's season because of the tragedy.
Recently, one of my colleagues, Matt Ryan, admitted that he considered suicide when he was in high school, his story is here.
I urge you, if a child of yours, or a child you know shows warning signs of depression, ask for help. Go to a doctor, a school nurse, someone who can help.
Every child's life is precious.