The Emotional Toll of Obesity
Three times as many 6- to 17-year-olds are overweight now than 30 years ago. And the epidemic
of alarming proportions is only getting worse — some researchers project that nearly half of the kids in North America
will weigh too much by 2010.
Being overweight or obese can significantly affect kids' daily way of life, potentially causing
serious physical and psychological problems now and in the future, says a recent study. Researchers from Yale University
and the University of Hawaii at Manoa pored through 40 years of findings to analyze the extensive, often endless stigma that
overweight children commonly endure.
According to the study, kids and teens carrying around excess pounds may be the targets of bias
and stereotyping not only from their peers, but also teachers and, surprisingly, their parents. Kids who are overweight frequently
experience unfair treatment, prejudice, and discrimination, says the study, and are often:
- prone to low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal thoughts
- teased, bullied, or rejected by peers (even as early as preschool)
- more likely to develop unhealthy dieting habits and eating disorders, such as
anorexia nervosa and bulimia
Overweight children are also already at risk for conditions once thought only to affect adults
(like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol). And, according to the study, the cruel treatment and social
disadvantages associated with being overweight may have lasting, harmful effects on everything from kids' physical health
to their education, from their relationships to their jobs.
That's why the researchers say discrimination of overweight kids and teens is just as serious
an issue as "racial discrimination or discrimination against children with physical disabilities."
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Pete Wentz was Suicidal
March 21st, 2008
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz has confessed that he was once
so depressed that he tried to commit suicide. In an effort to encourage students suffering from mental illness to get help,
Pete, Mary J. Blige and Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan front the Jed Foundation’s ‘Half of Us’
campaign which is aimed to cut student suicide rates. The 3 musicians sat down for interviews detailing their darkest hours
which appear on MTV’s college channel mtvU. Pete confessed to being so messed up and taking a bunch of prescription
drugs in a parking lot. Suicide is never the answer. Get help if you’re feeling depressed.
I've seen so many teens with their hair covering their eyes or half of their
faces. It screams depression to me.
Do you think that this is the look of unhappiness
or the look of depressed feelings? Let me know... click here to send me an e-mail with your opinion. It matters to me....
Parents Make A Difference!
Teens and Depression...
More than 86% of teens in
southwest Wisconsin are satisfied with themselves and have a positive attitude most of the time. Nine out of 10 teens reported
that if they had a personal problem, they would have someone to talk to. Yet, 15% of area teens have considered suicide in
the past month.
So why do some young people
become depressed? How much can a parent influence the mental health of a teen? How common are depression and suicidal feelings in teens? What are some warning signs that might be cause for concern?
What is Depression?
is not the same as feeling stressed. Symptoms of stress like tension, frustration and worry tend to last only for a few hours or a few days. Depression
is more severe and lasts longer.
- Talk about feeling empty, hopeless, worried, guilty or worthless.
- Have difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, making decisions,
completing homework and keeping up grades.
- Verbalize physical complaints such as headaches, stomachaches,
backaches, sleeping problems or weight changes.
- Display unusual behavior, e.g., restlessness, perfectionism,
irritability, isolation, conflict, dropping out of sports or hobbies, drinking alcohol or using drugs.
in the family can also place teens at risk for depression. Examples include family history of depression or suicide, frequent family conflict, divorced parents, an alcoholic parent, chronic illness
in a family member, or loss of a parent or close loved one.
Other factors that
could put a teen at risk for depression include rejection from peers, sexual or physical abuse,
a learning disability or low self-esteem.
Parents Make a Difference!
Research from the recent
Southwest Wisconsin Youth Survey (SWYS) of 3,747 students in 7th through 12th grades from 15 school districts shows that parents
really do have an influence on how teens feel.
Teens who have a close
relationship with their parents are more likely to discuss problems with their parents. Frequent and open conversations can
help to lessen the extent of sad moods.
When teens were asked
who they turn to for support:
- about one-quarter (28%) of males
- 21% of females
report they would turn to a parent or step-parent if they
were having a problem and needed someone to talk to.
Teens who have a close relationship with their parents
are also less likely to be depressed. Feelings of family love and support play a significant role in teen mental health. Ninety-two
percent (92%) of teens who believe their families love and support them did not consider suicide in the month prior to the
survey. Conversely, 50% of teen who did not feel they had family love and support did think about suicide in the month prior
to the survey.
How Common is Teen
SWYS presented several questions related to depression and males
tended to report feeling less depressed than females. While 49% of the males reported
never feeling sad or depressed in the month before
the survey, only 29% of the females never had that feeling. Nearly 45% of females in 7th grade reported not feeling sad or
depressed, but more than 75% of 8th through 12th grade females reported feeling depressed or very sad anywhere from once in
the past month to all of the time in the past month. Almost half of the 7th and 8th grade boys did not feel sad or depressed
in the month prior to the survey while about 53% of the older males did feel some sadness or depression.
Overall, 85% of the teens had not thought about suicide in the
month prior to the survey. Of the students who thought about suicide, most did not talk about it to another person and those
that did talk about it, chose to talk to a friend. Of the students surveyed, 14% have made a plan at some point to commit
suicide and 8% report that they have tried to kill themselves.
What Are The Warning Signs for Teen
Clues that an adolescent is suicidal may be verbal or
behavioral and although similar to symptoms of depression, are more serious. People frequently tell others they are considering
suicide, wish they were dead or say they don’t want to live anymore. Someone who talks about suicide is asking for help.
Always take them seriously and get professional help.
- Altered personality or appearance.
- Any dramatic changes in behavior, e.g., academic, social or emotional.
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs, changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Giving away treasured possessions.
- Isolation, constant insomnia, chronic anxiety or panic.
- Family history of suicide and/or previous attempts.
What Can a Parent Do?
When you talk with your teen:
- Remember that teens may feel uncomfortable discussing their concerns at first. They may not
even know how to communicate them out loud. It may take several attempts at communication before your child can or will discuss
their feelings with you.
Let teens know that you love them and are not angry or disappointed in them if they do feel depressed. The less judgmental
you appear, the more likely your teen will trust you with his or her feelings.
Be a good model of how to deal with stress. Work together with your teen to choose positive alternatives such as exercising,
playing music, helping someone in need, talking with family or close friends, and painting or other artistic activities.
Listen to your teen. Refrain from giving too much advice or direction.
Help your teen develop problem-solving skills. Encourage them to make plans, set goals and identify options.
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Dealing with Feelings of Depression
Feeling sadness is a normal byproduct of our complicated lives. When you feel very sad we call it "depression" and feeling mild depression now and then is
Life for a teen is complex. It’s loaded with events, situations,
relationships and surprises, which cause depression at times. You can’t be fully prepared
for all that happens. You can’t avoid some depression as you grow up. Between friends and
parents, teachers and other authorities there are just too many frustrating things, which create confusion and problems.
Mild temporary depression (“the blues”) lasts less than 3 days and sometimes the best way to deal with it is to just let time heal the hurt.
When you get too sad, you should TALK. Talk to friends, talk to parents and talk to a teacher or to a counselor. Sometimes when you look closely
at a problem it becomes much simpler, less distressing and more understandable.
Sometimes expressing anger is a way to deal with depression.
Psychiatrists have said that depression is often anger turned inward. Often the depression
occurs because of some complex situation where you feel that you, or someone you care about, is being treated unfairly. If
you look closely at it, you might see that instead of feeling depressed, you could feel angry.
Anger is often the opposite of depression. For instance, you could be feeling down and depressed
about breaking up with a boy or girlfriend - but a close, calm look might result in anger rather than depression.
Try stating the situation in terms of the injustice you may
be feeling (“after all I did for him, I deserved something better”)
and as you do this exercise you may feel the depression lifts and irritation replaces it. Then
deal with the anger by being assertive about your needs and looking for ways to correct the injustice. But be careful! Don’t
get too angry because that becomes another problem.
There is a lot you can do to manage feelings of depression,
but sometimes the depression has existed too long and has run too deeply. In that case, don’t
hesitate to check with your parents and get to a therapist or psychologist. These people have special skills and can help
a lot to point the way to feeling much better about your life.
source: click here