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Bullying and Depression: Signs and Symptoms

Tonya T. Helmkamp, LPC

Recently In Southgate, MI, a child lost his life, due to what appears to be a history of bullying that led to depressive symptoms resulting in him taking his own life. As unsettling as this is, many children and teens are subjecting themselves to self-harm and experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety on a larger scale than ever. It is important as concerned parents, teachers, counselors, and community members that we support self-esteem and anti-bullying initiatives.

Parents often blame themselves making it difficult for the child to talk to them, or to feel understood; their friends do not get them, or participate in the feelings of low self-worth, leaving the child to feel isolated and alone. In these situations the best thing you can do is build a network of support around your child, outside of you the parent, a school counselor, a relative they trust, or a professional counselor or spiritual advisor. Let them know you do not blame them, you are not angry, but just the opposite, you are proud of them for using their voice.

If you see any of the following symptoms in your child or teen, seek professional help.

  • Mood swings (crying, angry, or easily agitated).
  • Isolating from family or others.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Changes in school performance or conduct.
  • Unexplained scars, wearing clothing to cover up body parts (sensitive to season).
  • Using self-defeating language “I never get anything right,” “I’m ugly,” “I’m fat.”

Words of Wellness Counseling and Consulting LLC offers Free Screening Fridays to determine presence of a number of issues, and the course of treatment to take. Contact us for any questions.  Call today with any questions that you might have.