When you have depression it is beyond just "feeling sad". It is an overwhelming sense of sadness, a really deep feeling of despair that you can't shake no matter what you do, and even being angry at everyone and everything no matter what the circumstances are, or how good things may get.

Depression can mess with your personality and take away the essence of who you truly are. Feeling excited about things is really difficult even when things are not that bad. Everything just seems Blah!

Depression is also much more complex than just sadness, it is an almost debilitating feeling. People who are suffering from depression feel like they are in a constant sad hole that they can't get out of. There are many contributing factors for depression. These feelings can range from having a family history of depression, to serious illness (known as clinical depression), to big life changes. These factors may be the reason why someone may feel constantly overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness.

Overall, depression is a medical illness, BUT the good news is...Depression is treatable!!!

Many of these factors are treatable. Whether it is a combination of other medication, therapy or support groups, there is help out there. By being aware of how you are feeling and what events have been happening around you, will help you and your doctor or trusted adult to understand what you are going through and be able to get the best help.

NOTE: Children and youth may experience different symptoms from adults, but overall the symptoms are very similar, from having physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, to experiencing severe sadness, irritability, and even pushing family and friends away. Youth may experience more radical mood changes, going in and out of depression and mood swings. Parents, and society at large may see these changes as "rebellious" and therefore some of the reasons that it's sometimes difficult to diagnose youth with depression.

One common question about depression is, "Why do I feel this way?". But is it depression that you are feeling or is it just bouts of sadness once in a while?

When you have depression it is beyond just "feeling sad". It is an overwhelming sense of sadness, a really deep feeling of despair that you can't shake no matter what you do, and even being angry at everyone and everything no matter what the circumstances are, or how good things may get.

Sadness and feeling overwhelmed with life once in a while is fact, welcome to being human. It is part of living and experiencing the "trials and tribulations" of your life and of becoming an adult...all these things can contribute to feeling overwhelmed, which in turn can make you feel totally deflated and defeated.

What I'm saying is that it's okay to feel sad once in a while. It's okay to feel overwhelmed...and when you do, go out, take a walk, ride your bike, go surfing, or swimming, call your friend who makes you laugh, even closing your eyes and practicing some meditation techniques may help...basically...remove yourself temporarily from what gives you these feelings of sadness. Just step away, take a break...put yourself in a happy place for an hour or two, then come back when you are feeling a little refreshed and tackle what you need to or face what you need to face.

Depression, Drugs and Alcohol: the worst combination ever!

Depression often pushes youth to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to relieve their frustrations and self-medicate themselves as a way to escape the feeling of hopelessness.

BUT this is truly the worst thing one can do when they are depressed.

What many don't know is that it can make the problem worse because scientific evidence has shown over and over that drugs and alcohol make depression worse by intensifying the feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Although people may think it makes them feel "normal", the damage that they can cause can make it even harder to recover from depression. Youth can have a more difficult treatment and high rate of relapse.


Suicide is a very difficult subject to talk about...but one of the most effective medicines for this feeling of desperation has been to talk to someone.

Being able to talk to someone who is trusted is critical. Talking to someone who is trusted can open the doors to healing. Some one who is considered "trusted" doesn't always have to be a person you can also be a stranger on the other side of the phone. It is for these reasons that the ACCESS LINE and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were created.

If you or someone you know is in need of any help, call the Crises Line of Hawaii: 832-3100 for Oahu and 1-800-753-6879 for neighbor islands.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Help is available and recovery is possible! Suicide is 100% Preventable!

It's also very important to arm yourself with all the tools needed to prevent suicide. Educating yourself on the risk factors is just as important as talking about it.

According to a national survey of youth in high school, Hawaii has the highest rates of attempted suicides, making a plan, or having thoughts of suicide - in the country.

During 2009 in Hawaii there were 27 deaths by suicide of young people between the ages of 12-24.

Teens in Hawaii are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide when compared to youth elsewhere in the US.

Check out these Hawaii facts about youth suicide (Youth Risk Behavioral Survey 2011):

Highest percentage of youth (nearly 19%) who reported that they "seriously considered attempting suicide"

Highest percentage of youth (15%) who reported "making a suicide plan"

Percentage of youth (9%) who reported "attempted suicide"

Percentage (3.4%) who reported "suicide attempt treated by a doctor or nurse"

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TeenLink Hawaii (TLH) is a program of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii. TLH is sponsored by Hawaii Youth Services Network (HYSN).