Thank you for your question, and kudos to you for reaching out! Asking for help can be very difficult. By asking this question, you are taking steps to take care of yourself—which is super important!
You are not alone. In 2017, the National Institute for Health estimated 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 13.3% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17. Yet people, especially teens, don’t talk very openly about their experiences with depression despite it being very common, as they are afraid, they will be judged. However, it’s really important to connect with others and build a team of support to help you when you are experiencing those feelings of being sad and tired. Connecting with a therapist in or out of school (or both!) is essential. A therapist or counselor can help you work through strategies to relieve some of the symptoms of depression, which will help you succeed in school. It’s also a good idea to talk with a parent or other trusted adult about what you need in school to be successful. They can advocate for you to help you get the services that you are entitled to so you can keep up with your classwork. Getting involved in activities that you enjoy either inside or after school may help too. If you find exercise or hobbies help you to cope with your symptoms, you might consider joining a sport (competitive or club), student council, art, music or another activity.
Depression can feel very lonely. In order to build a support network, you may want to consider the following resources: The National Alliance on Mental Illness has groups for people living with depression, as well as their friends and families. Sometimes it’s hard for others to understand what depression is like. These groups can help. They also have a national hotline that you can call 24/7 when you might need some help or assistance. There is also a Crisis Text line that you can use if you need to connect (also 24/7), but prefer text messaging. Just text 741-741 on any phone, and you will be connected with a trained volunteer.
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