October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month

Candice Rosenblum, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker, Northshore

“Brian” was battling depression when he sought treatment from Jewish Family Service (JFS) last year. The death of his father triggered painful memories of a difficult childhood spent with a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic father. This behavior often creates a negative sense of self for children. A child wants desperately to be loved and accepted by his parents, but that was something Brian felt he never received. His father’s passing left unresolved issues in their relationship. Fortunately, Brian got the therapeutic help he needed and is on the road to recovery.  Details of his journey are featured HERE.

Brian’s story is not uncommon. At JFS Counseling Centers in Metairie and on the Northshore in Mandeville, dedicated and trained clinicians help numerous clients who struggle with depression. Professional staff is committed to educating communities and treating people who suffer with this debilitating disease. With greater understanding and many treatment modalities, we are able to treat individuals with depression and help their families support them.

Brian experienced many signs of depression, including being unmotivated, withdrawn, and unhappy. Other symptoms of depression include hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and unexplained sadness. Depressed adults often have no interest in seeking pleasure, have low energy, and have trouble concentrating. Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits might also occur.

Mental illness is misunderstood and it is viewed differently than a physical disease. Does a person with depression want to get out of bed? Of course they do. Then why don’t they just get out of bed?  They can’t! Why? They are suffering with a disease and they need help. In recent years, mental illness has been discussed more openly and is less stigmatized. However, there is much more to be done.

A large part of my work on the Northshore is with depressed adolescents. One of the frequent questions posed by parents is: “Is my child going through typical growing pains or is it depression?” Some indicators of depression in teenagers are a significant drop in school grades, attempts to run away, drug and alcohol abuse, extreme low self-esteem, addiction to screens, reckless behavior, and violence. Teen depression is also associated with eating disorders and self-harm.

If you are unsure whether your teen is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, and how different your teenager is acting from his or her usual self. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of teenage angst — but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness, isolation, lethargy, and/or irritability.

Depression is treatable with medication and/or therapy.  Many people who suffer with depression are unaware that help is available and where to reach out for services. Jewish Family Service is here to support you and your loved ones. For the Greater New Orleans area, call (504) 831-8475. For Mandeville, call (985) 869-2232.