Recently my 17 year old son was riding in my car and shared some astonishing news. The older brother of a friend of his had passed away. He had taken his own life. He had posted a good-bye post on Instagram and that proceeded to commit this horrible act.
I asked my son what had happened, what had caused his friend to feel so low about himself that he chose to take matters into his own hands. My son said, "he had problems with his parents".
As an experienced teacher, I can tell you that it's not easy to tell the difference between a normal teenager that hates his parents and one that truly needs your attention. My suggestion is to take each sad child seriously, as if they could be depressed and suicidal. You never know. As teachers, we are on the front line. Our words can guide and nurture a young soul. Let's not lose sight of that.
Some signs of depression:
- Online posts of ways of killing themselves (poison, weapons, hanging, etc.)
- Images or online posts that show a sad or defeated person
- Talking with friends about feeling worthless
- Sits quietly in the back of the room and does not interact with others
- Lack of interest in their own personal hygene or style