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Brandon came through the door after school with a sad look on his face— again. His mom, Andrea, had noticed that lately he seemed to be down more than up, and he’d also mentioned something about not sleeping very well. At the dinner table, he picked at his food and seemed irritable. Andrea was concerned because she knew the signs of depression.

“What’s going on?” she asked him when they sat down to talk about his low mood.

“I don’t know,” Brandon said. “I just feel bad all the time. Even doing nice things for my friends doesn’t make me feel good anymore.”

Andrea decided to take him to the doctor—right away.

When the doctor asked Brandon if he ever thought about suicide, Andrea was shocked when her son said yes.

Then the doctor asked Brandon if had a suicide plan. And Andrea was even more shocked by Brandon’s answer: “Yes, I was going to use the guns at my friend’s house.”

Depression is by far the most common mental and emotional health problem in the western world today. As a matter of fact, it can be compared with the common cold in terms of the frequency with which it occurs in the general population. And it’s much more common in teenagers then we’d like to think. For obvious reasons, depression among young people carries with it a heightened risk of suicidal thoughts. This is clearly a serious issue for us as parents who have preteens, teens, or young adults. Maybe you already know enough about depression, but for those who don’t, it’s worth a closer look at the connection between depression and suicide.

Lesson Complete!