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January Blues

Preventing Child Suicide: Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Have you ever heard of Blue Monday? After the holidays, many people can feel depressed or sad, and the third Monday in January (Blue Monday) is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I can’t verify whether or not this is true for everyone, but I do know that January can be a hard month for many people. The weather is cold and dreary, the fun of the holidays is over and many people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Some of the high school students reported to me that coming back to school on January 10 was challenging.
With all of that in mind, I think it’s important to check in with our students about their mental health. UNICEF reports that many children in Bulgaria do not seek professional help because of “anxiety or shame (63%) or not knowing where to look for help (17%)…To cope, most often young people try either not to pay attention to their experiences (41%) or do something harmful to their health (33%).” UNICEF also reports that “1 in 5 deaths among 15 to 19-year-olds in the EU is caused by intentional self-harm…Suicide is the second most prevalent cause of death for adolescents of the same age in Europe.”
Sometimes it is hard to know if a teenager is simply being moody or if he or she is truly struggling with a mental health issue. This is why it is critical to talk to your child and discern if he or she is capable of managing emotions or if life seems overwhelming. The Mayo Clinic has an exhaustive list of signs to look out for. While it is normal to experience these things from time to time, if your child is consistently displaying them, it might be time to seek mental health support. Here are a few of the signs:

  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Anger and frustration over small things
  • Consistent Irritability
  • Loss of hope
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Self harm (cutting or burning)
  • Use of alcohol or drugs

If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, please reach out to the counseling team. We are happy to help and have a list of mental health professionals who can support you and your child.

Brook Pauley, High School Counselor
bpauley@aas-sofia.org
Kelli Anderson, Middle School Counselor
kanderson@aas-sofia.org
Denise Granai, Elementary School Counselor
dgranai@aas-sofia.org

Brook Pauley, HS Counselor 

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