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The Dangers of Teen Depression and Self-Harm

The number of teens who experience depression has soared over the last few years. There has been a high rate of teen suicides and more incidences of self-harm. Teen depression is affected by academics, life experiences, and stress. Teens express their depressive feelings differently. Some isolate, some use drugs or alcohol, or some may self-harm. Studies show nearly one half of teens in the United States have engaged in self-harm, especially cutting.

In a recent article by Psychologist Erin Leonard, she examines the relationship between teen depression and self-harm. She analyzes the psychology of teens that choose to self-harm. Psychologically, teens show be desperate to remain young and void scarring. She further exams the reason why teens self-harm.

First, teens are still developing, and their brain chemistry is altered. The massive hormonal changes cause teens to be more impulsive and uncomfortable in their skin. Second, teen depression and anxiety increase with the lack of time spent outside. Teens spend less time outside with recent technological advancements. Research suggests getting out in nature lessens symptoms of depression. Third, teen depression and anxiety can cause “out of body” experiences. To cope with a situation, teens may mentally separate themselves from the present. Self-harm seems to be an act that teens use to reconnect the body and mind.

How to Address Teen Depression

There are several ways teen depression and self-harm can be addressed and be helped. One, teens need to be educated on the dangers of self-harm. They also need to be taught how to speak for themselves when they are not feeling well. Two, parents can find better ways for teens to feel safe in communication. Listening is important and so is validating their feelings. Lastly, getting teens involved in healthy activities such as art, meditation, and yoga can reduce incidence of self-harm.

To learn more about depression, click here.