Depression has been in the news a lot lately, especially since the tragic death of Robin Williams. I for one am glad that this devastating mental illness is no longer a taboo, but is becoming more and more accepted, if not always understood.
A recent article in Seventeen magazine made me once again aware that there are some unusual suspects for teen depression. Too often, we think the teens who are withdrawn, on the ‘outside’, are the ones at risk for depression. They may be, but this article portrayed three young girls who seemed to have it all until they suddenly committed suicide. They were good students, academically succesfull, with a bright future ahead of them. Only afterwards did their family and friends find out about their secret struggles and depression.
Type A personalities are high risk for depression because of their need for perfection. One of the girls mentioned in the article was a straight A student and an acomplished athlete who was on track for some prestigious scholarships, yet she feared failing more than anything. The sheer pressure of keeping that perfect life was too much for her.
When you assess your students for possible signs of teen depression, look deeper that the perfect outside. It may be the perfect student, the popular boy or girl who has it all, who may need your help the most.