Some factors that can cause depression among youth include abuse, a lack of opportunities, living in an environment of violence and a feeling of hopelessness.
Dr. Emilia Lucio y Gómez Maqueo warns that if depression is not treated on time, it can lead to addictions or suicide: “Depression is difficult to detect. It is becoming more common in minors, which is a point of concern, and can lead to problems such as addiction and suicide,” explains the professor from the Psychology Department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, Spanish acronym) in an interview with the EFE news agency.
According to recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common mental illness that is estimated to affect more than 300 billion people throughout the world.
The expert explains that one of the main reasons why depression is so common, is that it is difficult to diagnose, as parents and teachers often mistake it for a lack of interest.
“When a young person gets mad and become apathetic, parents interpret this as them being rebellious and think they have to fix them; but in reality, they are expressing that they feel bad about themselves,” she explains. This is why she strongly emphasizes the importance of not just getting an early diagnosis, but taking preventative measures as well.
“We must aim our efforts towards prevention,” which is why we must understand “the disease” and “the risk factors that cause it,” she states.
The specialist emphasized that these types of problems should be treated during childhood and adolescence in order to prevent more serious consequences occurring in adulthood. “What is tricky about mental health problems and depression is that they can disable you, as they interfere in one’s development and limit their ability to make important life decisions,” she states.
The expert recommends being aware of depression symptoms among youth such as lower academic performance, “…not socializing, not talking, having mood sudden swings, not wanting to get up in the morning or sleep disorders.”
According to figures from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), one out of four people has experienced a mental or neurological disorder at least once in their lifetime.