Students learn about depression in children

Donna Rodriguez

The Depression in Children and Adolescents workshop raised awareness of depression and suicide that affects people as well as the warning signs for the Beat the Blues Week on Tuesday.

“We want to draw attention and equip students with this information,” said Vaheh Hartoonian, assistant coordinator for peer programs and co-facilitator for the Blues Project.

Approximately 40 percent of children and adolescents who have experienced depression are more likely to have recurring depression said Marta Gonzalez, University Counseling Services pre-doctoral psychology intern. Three to 4 percent of the 40 percent will die of suicide.

“It is important to know about suicide in all ages so (students) are aware of the warning signs and the resources available,” said Hartoonian.

The causes of depression are a combination of genetic, chemical, biological, psychological, social and environmental factors, according to American Psychological Association.

Symptoms of depression are loss of interest and pleasure in activities, significant weight loss or gain and insomnia, said Gonzalez.

“Adolescents will (show signs of) sadness and children will be irritable,” said Gonzalez.

Some treatment options would be psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both, said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez hoped that students would gain knowledge about recognizing the warning signs and advocating it in whatever setting they are working in with children and adolescents.

Students like Gabriela Carrera, senior child and adolescent development major, found the workshop to be helpful. Carrera is part of the Child Adolescent Development Association (CADA) club and is interested in adolescent and child depression.

“The resources are very helpful because I want to be a school psychologist,” said Carrera. “They can’t diagnose children but it’s a great help to be award of the warning signs and seek help.”

Benjamin Campos, senior psychology major, felt the workshop was helpful to take away the stigma about talking about depression and suicide.

“I really think when someone comes up to you to talk about suicide people try to avoid it,” said Campos. “With this information it will help to catch warning signs and try to help the person or refer them to someone else.”