Earlier this month, the death of comedian and Oscar-winning celebrity, Robin Williams, brought sadness and shock to generations of fans. Even more troubling was the revelation that Williams had battled depression for decades, a condition which resulted in Williams taking his own life.
DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
It’s hard to understand how a public figure who seemed so happy, bringing joy and laughter to so many around the world, was also quietly struggling with depression. We learned that this illness affects 11% of United States teens and 9% of adults, who often suffer in silence. Unfortunately, about 80% of individuals diagnosed with depression do not receive proper treatment and at times, their loved ones realize too late that they were suffering at all.
Depression is the cause of over two-thirds of the 30,000 reported suicides in the U.S. each year. (White House Conference on Mental Health, 1999) Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers. These statistics alone are cause for increased awareness, action and prevention.
EXERCISE, SPORTS, AND DEPRESSION
Oftentimes we hear that regular exercise can help ward off depression and enhance one’s mood. Research studies over the years have consistently found this to be true. Any form of physical activity can be beneficial for teenagers, this is especially true for those involved in group sports. With the start of the school year upon us, we wanted to re-share our research article, “Benefits of School-Based Sports,” which offers further details on how sports can assist teens in working through mental health issues such as depression.
Although this is merely a start, it has become increasingly evident that the discussion surrounding depression and suicide, especially how best to enact effective treatment and prevention measures, needs to be further addressed. Knowledge is power, so we wanted to share some additional resources with you all.