A 17 year old adolescent committed sucide and that threw the entire family into disarray. They never noticed the changes in his behavior for months,they assumed he was only going through mood swings that was simply a phase. No one noticed his inner cry for help,no one noticed his hints and other warning signs. The rate of sucide and sucide attempts greatly increases during adolescent.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION IN BOYS
Depression is a kind of mood disorder that can affect boys and if not checked can lead to sucide and sucide attempts. Depression can interfere with energy, concentration,sleep pattern and appetite. Most times boys can rarely explain these feelings out because we raise boys not to speak or cry out. You have no idea how depression can affect a boy,he feels hopeless, worthless, rejected and unloved.
A research study conducted in secondary schools in two states in Nigeria,Enugu and Ebonyi within the age range of 9-18. It was conducted by the department of pediatric,college of medicine University of Nigeria revealed that the highest prevalence of depression was from 12 years of age. It’s known and documented that the numbers of boys and girls affected by depression is almost equal,the difference is in the symptoms they present.
WARNING SIGNS YOUR SON IS THINKING OF SUCIDE
- He talks about sucide and dying.
- Gives hint he may not be around.
- Talks alot about feelings of hopelessness or guilt.
- He withdraws from friends and family.
- Writes songs,poems or write ups about distance, separation,confusion,anger, helplessness,death,the end and goodbyes.
- Begins to give out personal stuffs away.
- He loses interest in having fun
- Engage in risky behavior.
- Loses interest in school
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION IN BOYS
- Physical abuse at home and at school.
- Disruption in his brains.
- Hormonal changes during puberty.
- It runs in the family.
- Childhood traumas such as domestic violence,sexual abuse, divorce,family conflicts, family financial problems and negative thinking patterns .
WHO ARE THOSE AT RISK FACTORS
- Boys with low self esteem.
- Boys who suffer long term bullying.
- Boys with academic troubles.
- Boys with mental disorders
- Boys with learning disability
- Boys with chronic illness.
- Boys from dsyfunctional families.
- Boys who have suffered rape.
- Boys who abuse drugs.
- Boys from families with history of depression.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
- Persistent low moods.
- Stops hanging out and having fun
- Becomes an extreme introvert.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Cant concentrate.
- Interact less.
- Lacks confident .
- Talks about feeling guilty .
- Feeling empty and emotionless.
- Harms himself.
- Thoughts of sucide
- Panic attacks
TIPS ON HOW TO HELP YOUR SON SPEAK HIS FEELINGS
At a certain stage in puberty, boys experience lots of bodily changes and because of the hormonal changes within their bodies; it can trigger mood swings and down times even leading to depression. At this stage most boys become introverted and keep to themselves. If you have noticed signs of depression in your son and he isn’t speaking up, here are tips you can employ to get him to say how he feels.
- Reach out to him and declare you love him letting him know he means alot to you. Keep dropping this lines consistently.
- Let him know you suspect he must be going through pains and would love to share in his pain and would he mind sharing yours.
- Let him know it’s ok to cry because you cry too.
- Boys naturally engage in conversation carrying out an activity,so maybe fixing stuff or doing his favourite chore could be a good time to talk.
- Dont pressure him to speak,let him know whenever he is ready,you will be there to listen.
- If he isn’t willing to speak up verbally encourage him to pen,draw or paint his thought out.
- Listen,listen and listen without judgement.
- Touch, hugs and hope and positive message
It can be hard for parents and adult to know when a boy is depressed and because we equate irritability and angry mood as a show of bad attitude or disrespect but once you notice signs of depression,I want to recommend…….
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE UNIT OF THE FEDERAL NEURO-PSYCHATRIC HOSPITAL OSHODI ANNEX- LAGOS STATE