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Jump to first page Depression How it affects students. Dickey LaMoure Special Education Unit.

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Presentation on theme: "Jump to first page Depression How it affects students. Dickey LaMoure Special Education Unit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jump to first page Depression How it affects students. Dickey LaMoure Special Education Unit

2 Jump to first page Introduction Understanding Depression What Causes Depression Characteristics and Symptoms of Depression What can we do to help students who are depressed? Depression and Suicide

3 Jump to first page Depression is......one of the most disabling conditions...an experience rather than an event …misunderstood--depressed students don’t always act sad or unhappy …a condition which affects behavior

4 Jump to first page What Causes Depression? Stress: When people have trouble handling stress, they are more prone to depression. Brain Chemistry: Shortages or imbalances of certain chemicals may play a part in some types of depression. Drugs: Excessive use of drugs can lead to or worsen depression. Illness: Life-changing illness, such as a major heart attack, can lead to depression.

5 Jump to first page Characteristics Depression is passive—it results in lower levels of energy and decreased performance. Depression is more intense than sadness. Depression interferes with daily activities Depression can be long-lasting and affect all aspects of a person’s life. Depression can be dysthemic (comes and goes) but is still just as disabling when it is present. 1 in 8 adolescents may suffer from some level of depression

6 Jump to first page Symptoms Feeling empty or numbed; Irritable mood beyond what is typical; Problems sleeping; Lack of physical and mental energy; Loss of appetite or weight loss; Sulking, self-pity, loss of confidence and self-respect; Difficulty with concentration; Increased “risky” or oppositional behaviors.

7 Jump to first page Symptoms Feeling hopeless about oneself and the future Feeling alone; trouble making or keeping friends Feeling that nothing you do makes any difference Trouble finishing projects or doing simple tasks Rapid mood swings

8 Jump to first page Consider this example from Everything You Need to Know about Depression by Eleanor Ayer “Dwayne was a responsible kid and a good student who was well-liked by his teachers. He had many friends, belonged to a religious youth group, was captain of the basketball team, and was a part-time cashier on weekends. His parents were very proud of him and praised him constantly. It seemed as if Dwayne could do no wrong--and that worried him.

9 Jump to first page Consider this example from Everything You Need to Know about Depression by Eleanor Ayer “The stress of always having to be the ‘perfect’ teenager was hard on Dwayne. After months of living with this stress, he began to feel overwhelmed. ‘Dwayne, can you be in charge of the junior class car wash next weekend?’ ‘Dwayne, are you running for student council president?’ ‘Dwayne, can you write an article for the school paper about the basketball team’s winning season?’

10 Jump to first page Consider this example from Everything You Need to Know about Depression by Eleanor Ayer “Everyone expected him to take on additional responsibility. He felt as if he were going around in circles. Dwayne became so overwhelmed by all his obligations that he felt powerless. It seemed as if he had lost control of his life. He had so many things to do that he no longer did any of them well. He had trouble remembering the simplest things. He jumped from one task to another, never finishing anything.

11 Jump to first page Consider this example from Everything You Need to Know about Depression by Eleanor Ayer “Soon Dwayne began feeling helpless and hopeless. He was often in a bad mood. The smile and good word he used to have for people vanished. In the quiet of his room, he cried. Dwayne was suffering from long-term stress and heading toward depression.”

12 Jump to first page What can we do to help a depressed person?

13 Jump to first page How to act around a depressed person: Don’t be afraid to ask the person if they are having a problem; Be open and honest about what you have observed that concerns you; Always be ready to listen; Be supportive: show that you care and want to help or offer to assist them in finding someone who can help.

14 Jump to first page What NOT to say to a depressed person: “It’s just a phase.” “Everybody feels that way sometimes.” “Stop looking like you lost your best friend!” “Quit being such a grouch.” “It’ll be better in the morning.” “Get over it. You’re just looking for attention.” “You can do it—just work harder.”

15 Jump to first page How can we help in school? Get involved…TALK with the student A depressed student may avoid personal contact. By making an effort to initiate personal contact, you let the student know that you care about him/her. This may open the door for further contact when the student needs help.

16 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n LISTEN to the student A depressed student may give subtle hints about the way he/she is feeling. Listening is another way to communicate you care and that you think the student has something important to contribute. Good listening involves paying attention, making eye contact, asking relevant questions and avoiding interruptions.

17 Jump to first page How can we help in school? WATCH for changes in behavior or mood By being involved, you are more likely to notice the student’s behavior changes. This can be evidence of an improvement in the depression or a warning sign for suicide. Trust your instincts—if something changes, be ready to act on the student’s behalf.

18 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n CONTACT parents or school counselor when you have questions or concerns Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they are not important. Everything you learn by asking questions will add to your experience and help you confidently deal with other students who struggle with depression.

19 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n RECOGNIZE that the emotional needs must be a priority. This is a hard—as teachers, we are tuned into academics and may over-emphasize academic success. But in order to improve the academic success of a depressed student, we must first improve the emotional conflicts that interfere with his/her ability to succeed.

20 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n REDUCE ACADEMIC STRESS: Yes, academics cause stress. For a depressed student, if this stress is too much to bear, he/she will shut down instead of dealing with it. “Working harder” is not an option— they are already working hard at existing (coming to school, attending classes, handling relationships, etc.)

21 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n WAYS TO REDUCE ACADEMIC STRESS: * Don’t put the student on the spot: call on him/her when he/she is likely to know the answer. * Reduce written tasks: written tasks take a lot of effort emotionally. If the student can do the task with less writing/composing, let them do it.

22 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n WAYS TO REDUCE ACADEMIC STRESS: * Modify tests (use word banks, use matching or T/F format, etc.): Depressed students have trouble pulling up information on demand. Word banks or other test formats will help them make associations and help them retrieve what they have learned.

23 Jump to first page How can we help in school? n WAYS TO REDUCE ACADEMIC STRESS: * Highlight important information or give copies of notes: Because their minds are busy with emotional turmoil, depressed students may not be able to identify what information is important and what is less relevant.

24 Jump to first page Why is it important to help in school?

25 Jump to first page Depression Suicide n Suicide is the 3rd most common cause of death for Americans between 15 and 24 n The suicide rate has tripled in the past 30 years. n Adolescents commit suicide 20 times more often than younger children. n The most dangerous thing you can do is to ignore the warning or assume that the person isn’t serious.

26 Jump to first page Suicide Warning Signs n Constant talk of death or dying; n Withdrawal from friends or family; n Increase in risky behaviors or drug use; n Giving away prized possessions; n Direct or indirect threats of suicide; n Presence of guns, rope, pills, etc; n Recent suicides in the community or on TV; n Sudden improvement in a depressed person’s mood or condition.

27 Jump to first page What to do if you’re concerned about suicide n Remove suicide tools; n Do not leave the person alone; n Contact family or therapist; n Call the 24-Hour Suicide Hotline or (NDMH Information)

28 Jump to first page A final thought: You can be the one person who gives a depressed student reason to go on, so— dare to get involved!


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