Awareness of Student Depression


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By Hajin, Dahbin, Norah, Antonio, Sarah, Anthony, Austin, Charlie, Aldo, Ty


Our group chose the topic of depression because it is a mental illness that is often overlooked, especially in the classroom. Some of us know classmates who struggle or have struggled with depression, and we want them to know that it's okay. Our goal is to bring awareness to students and teachers, but we are focusing on teachers because there is a lot they can do to help. You cannot always see depression, but there are signs you can look for.
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The Issue

Depression has gone up a startling rate in past years. In fact, suicide rates among girls 10-14 tripled from 1999-2014. In recent years, studies say that 9.5% of Americans suffer from depression. 15% of people from 10-24 have considered suicide. In schools, the lack of awareness and sensitivity has made it hard for students with depression to acknowledge and seek treatment for their illness. Our goal is to bring awareness and sensitivity to this illness.
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Causes of Depression

  • biology - chemical imbalances of serotonin and dopamine.
  • genetics - a family history of depression might be the cause of depression.
  • social and environmental factors - negative beliefs about themselves, their future, and others

These root causes make it hard for students to function and can be noticeable or unnoticeable. It is important for teachers to acknowledge them.

Signs of Depression

  • feeling sad or miserable
  • loss of interest
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • eating or sleeping patterns change
  • weight loss or gain
  • exhaustion
  • difficulty thinking or learning
  • attempts to "treat" depression with drugs

What are signs of depression? What would you do if you saw signs of depression?

We got information from members of our camp. Below are two examples.

Question Answers

We interviewed 6 campers with answers that closely resembled each other.

What are signs of depression?

  • "Anxiety and sadness..."
  • "Sadness"
  • "They don't go to school... They don't want to talk to anybody..."
  • "When they are quiet..."

What would you do if you saw signs of depression?

  • "I would comfort the person."
  • "I would talk to a trusted adult."

We also interviewed two professionals in our community.

Dr. Kristal Shanahan - school counselor, Gattis Elementary

Are there specific indicators of depression in students?

"Students are more likely to be depressed toward the beginning of the school year and when STAAR tests roll around. They feel a lot of pressure to perform that really affects them emotionally. New students, those without a friend 'group,' are also more likely to have anxiety and depression."

What would your advice be to teachers as far as being aware of and sensitive to student depression?

"I would say that the most important thing is to establish relationships with your students and look for signs of emotional imbalance or abnormal behavior. Talk to that student privately, or have a counselor talk to them. Do not ignore it and hope it will go away."

Dr. Sharon Cunningham - professional counselor, counselor supervisor, experienced educator

What are some root causes you have noticed that contribute to student depression?

"Students, teens especially, with body image issues, low self-esteem or self-worth, family problems, financial issues, and anxiety about their future are more likely to experience depression. Victims of bullying, too, are obviously going to suffer emotionally."

What advice can you give to students suffering from depression?

"There are a lot of resources available to you, many of them free. The most helpful one, I would say, would be counseling. There are specific types of counseling, like for teenage depression, that can be really helpful."

Our Goal

We would like to bring awareness to depression by talking to teachers to be prepared and aware that students in their classes might have depression. We want the kids to feel safe at school and be able to have help to go through depression. We don't want the kids to feel singled out, but we would like them to know that people are with them and that they are not alone.

To help those students, we would like adults AND kids to help bring awareness to people with depression. To do this, we plan on talking to our school teachers and counselors, telling them about the data we've found and our own personal experience with classmates with depression. Even if one person is aware of this illness, we want them to be able to help people with this issue.

What We Learned

Dahbin- "There are a lot of ways I can help my community."

Sarah- "I learned that depression is a big problem in the US and we can help stop it."

Norah- "I don't know."

Antonio- "I learned that there are a lot of problems in the community that I could help out with."

Anthony- "Various things that I do not remember."

Austin- "Um, helping out in the community is important."

Aldo- "Issues. There are a lot of issues in our community."

Hajin- "Depression is a bigger problem than we thought."

Charlie- "IENGAGE. How to be an active citizen, like, in my community."

Ty- "How to be a good citizen."

What You Can Do

  • Parents: talk to your child about recognizing depression, and let them know that it's okay to be depressed.
  • Students: be aware of their peers, and recognize abnormal behavior.
  • Teachers: know your students, recognize abnormal behavior, be sensitive to students' personal lives, talk to them privately, bring in parents if need be.

Teachers Take Action

Some ways that teachers can be aware of and sensitive to student depression are:

  • See their students. Be aware of them as individuals, but avoid singling them out.
  • Notice abnormal behavior. Speak to the student privately or to the parents if need be.
  • Use positive reinforcement and encouragement, not punishment or public embarrassment.
  • Foster a supportive, respectful classroom.
  • Implement an anti-bullying program if your school does not already have one.
  • Remember your sensitivity training.
  • Participate in local, state, and federal campaigns and movements against student depression.

Menti Feedback

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Steps to Provide our Group Feedback:

  1. Go to
  2. Type in 52 13 01
  3. Submit responses.

"Thank You!"