Youth Forum Dialogue Circle Notes – Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression Notes

1st Round

Question:  What is your experience with depression?  What do you know?

A: Personal story – diagnosed, family members too on mom’s side, some of it is organic, pre-disposition.

Older sister and aunts – what it is like to be a family member; don’t know what to say, leads to his sadness.

Cousin who lost mom to depression, suffered her whole life.  It’s hard to be there for someone.  Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, be the person they trust.

Q: Why did people choose this table?

A: Because student deals with depression and wanted to share what helps him:  family/friend support, being diagnosed and getting treatment, seeing school psychologist, going to a support group.  There is NO support group in this area.

A: Struggled with depression since young.  Only friend that is diagnosed understands her.  She feels she’s had enough self-love and writing down her feelings helps her deal with/figure out where to go.  Looking for a place to express their thoughts.

A: A friend helped her realize she had depression so it’s something everyone should know more about, be more open with, because everyone deals with it either personally or knows someone.

A: Was diagnosed, autism, parents divorced.

Q: What helps?

A: Journaling, poetry, reading, school and regular therapist, thinking of six impossible things (i.e. submarine with a sliding door, a cracked dam, pig with angel wings).

A: Wake up with the idea that every day is a new day.

Community wise:

A: Not a lot of first hand experience that he knows of, wants to learn more about it.  Education is key to understanding/empathizing.

A: Borther’s scho’l: a student wanted to include harder emotions – an explanation/lecture on basics.  It will cause people to be more aware, show students where to go, part of health/living skills class – best class for borther.

A: Forums/school assembly/clubs, etc. give a way to start discussion.  A safe place.

A: Needs to eb treated as medical emergency.

2nd Round

Q: What is your experience with depression?

A: In reality do people really know how to deal with depression?

Ignorant people who are making you feel that there is no one who understands.

Family history and personal depression – many times people don’t display it.

Misconceptions: all depressed people can’t get out of bed.  It’s actually more episodic.

After last suicide, facebook exploded.  A teacher attacked parents.

Misconceptions:  depression = emo, super obvious.  After she found out she had depression, she realized it looks different for everyone, it is an illness, not diagnosed properly.

Q: Is it normal to feel depressed?

A: 1/3 of population under 40 experience depression.

Q: What would you teach?

A: Get proper help, not the wrong help. He was just put in a drug rehab place that actually had no capacity to treat him.  It was the worst experience; instead he should have had a counselor that is specialized in depression. Be honest about treatment.

Teach about the different forms of depression.

Talk about mental health earlier.

Medication and therapy is needed

ASB always decides about school events – if more people were involved there may be more events for people to attend.

DBT – Dialetic Behavioral Therapy:

  • What should we do immediately if depressed?
  • Mindfulness
  • Help w/ impulsiveness
  • Emotional regularion
  • Relationship skills, etc.

Knowing that you’re not alone helps – how can we get that message out?

Maybe integrate DBT into living skills or elsewhere to teach coping skills.

Q: Living skills is a joke to a lot of students, why?  How can we make it more serious?

A: Make it more realistic, and not just over the summer.  Make it more than just sex ed and balancing a checkbook. Depression should get more of a focus.  Teach how to help skills, how to notice it in others, everyone should take QPR.

Integrate into all the subjects.

Consistency with counselors.


Experience with depression:

A: Sister and aunts suffer from depression.  Causes differ. As a family member he feels powerless because he can’t help.

The causes = a combination of stuff.

He had to talk a friend out of suicide and others that were depressed.

Student had mental issues personally so is open to discussing it.

Autism, etc. was a life crisis, which led to many coping strategies.

Mom and younger siblings are most affected, it’s a family issue.

Also affects friends because they don’t know or understand it.

Some people feel uncomfortable with depression so are uncomfortable with you.

Q: What has the community been doing?

A: Trying to point the cause at the schools.

Not going to the people suffering and asking them what do they think/feel.

Go to the source.

Parents are mad at the school, maybe there should be more focus on parents who are pushing too much.

Education in not everything in Palo Alto.

Q: What is the solution?

A: Don’t put extra load on them.  If you’re working on homework you can’t work on yourself.

Less homework load, more homework done in class, etc.

A stepping stone would be to give space for treatment.

Most helpful thing is talking with friendws – a youth group or something that provides that opportunity for dialogue with other people.  Might be best outside of school.

Promote peer interactions.

Every other tutorial – space for talking (optional)

Referral box – identifying friends who need help. May be better to do it so that the friends know who is helping them.

Change the box to an appreciation box so friends can put nice things about their friend in it.

Q: How do we find the people who really need help?

A: Know the signs. Teach the students the signs.

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