It’s alarming to read statistics about depression in children today. Some in grade school are diagnosed as suicidal. Depression presents itself in a myriad of ways. Some young people cut themselves; others seek drugs to dull their senses; and some take their own lives.

I’ve always had a theory that children who get addicted to opioids initially suffer from depression—and this could be their attempt to deal with it. In other words, opioid usage initially begins as a coping mechanism, or a way to escape emotional pain they aren’t equipped to deal with.

And then, I read an article in The Atlantic, and it confirmed this possibility.

Adolescents with depression were also more likely, in one study, to use prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons and to become addicted. If the emotional pain, the depression, is never properly diagnosed or treated, the patient might continue taking the opioid because it’s treating something,” said Jenna Goesling, an assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan and an author of that study.  If it is driven—at least in part—by depression, opioid abuse can be seen as a cry for help. “People have distress—their life is not working, they’re not sleeping, they’re not functioning,” Sullivan said, “and they want something to make all that better.” But for depressed patients, heavy-duty painkillers aren’t the right “something.” **

This makes me think that undiagnosed depression could be at the heart of opioid addiction, suicide, and death for many beautiful, intelligent, well-raised young people.

I know depression can be an inherited genetic predisposition. If a parent suffers from it—then, it’s likely offspring will, too. But, I’m also curious about the type of depression that’s not necessarily genetic. What happens if a young person is bombarded with negative talk for many years? What if there’s unending stress, fighting, upheaval in their lives? What if they feel overwhelmed by it all and don’t know how to handle it? This type of depression is situational—caused by a specific event—or two or three in a row—and can spiral downward quickly.

For starters—I looked at numbers on depression and young people and found them to be surprisingly higher than I’d originally thought. This is of great concern. 

More than 36 percent of teenaged girls in America are depressed or have suffered a recent major depressive episode, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry. For boys, the rate is 13.6 percent. Why is this happening? It isn’t just one study. Research throughout the last several decades has shown a consistent pattern of rising anxiety, depression, suicide, and suicide attempts among American adolescents. *

I am searching for an answer. Why do we have this epidemic of depression amongst our children? What are the common denominators here? What do children go through that might make them feel horrible about themselves? So awful, they turn that hatred inward—because that’s what depression truly is—hatred, rage, turned inward.

The more I read, the more questions I asked—and it led me to a conclusion that’s been right in front of me for a very long time. I boiled it down to three basic points. Our young people are being subjected to these things daily, and we, as taxpayers and parents, are not only paying for it, but condoning it with our possible silence.

  1. Students Are Being Taught to Hate America in Classrooms

From kindergarten until college graduation, your child is being taught to hate America. Surprised by that? You shouldn’t be. The school system has been infiltrated by progressive left-wing educators, and they’re indoctrinating the minds of every child.

Much of this is taught under the banner of Civics or “Service Programs”—i.e. helping others, always a sacred thing. It’s good to be nice and help people—so, this must be a wonderful course, right? Be aware, this teaching has nothing to do with American government, how it works, or why America is great. In fact, your children are being taught that America is horrible and is guilty of social injustice from its inception. (Hence the removal of everything that shows our country’s heritage—every statue, every memorial building, every plaque, will soon be removed.)

College age Americans know less and less about the most basic government tasks. They know little to nothing about real American history. A civics course is supposed to teach the difference between self-governance and socialism, communism, and Marxism. The purpose of civics was originally designed to teach students about their civil rights, the Bill of Rights, The Constitution, and their responsibilities as American citizens. But, none of this is being taught.

The new civics teaches children about “social injustice” and “institutionalized racism”. Also on the agenda is: how to protest to force government to bring attention to such injustices. Who your children are to be sympathetic toward is also being spoon-fed to them.

But worse than that—our children are being taught the founding fathers of America were evil, in every manner. For one thing—they owned slaves. Unfortunately, this is truth—but, the lesson doesn’t expand enough to give context. Slavery existed amongst indigenous people before the founding fathers even set foot here. Slavery also existed on every continent at that point in history. That doesn’t justify slavery—but, it demonstrates that it was—at one time—an accepted practice in the world.

It’s not good enough to just teach a course called Civics—now, it’s being incorporated into every subject in the curriculum—including math, science, and languages. The new Civics dismantles all that we embrace as Americans and teaches youth to be anti-American. Protests, marches, organized demonstrations are methodically taught. Even worse, there’s a Civics Education Initiative to fund this horribly warped teaching. Follow the money to find the corruption. It’s there.

  1. Social Media Causes Depression

Hand your kid a phone with a connection to the internet, and you’re handing them something dangerous—strangers who will stalk them. That screen is a door into the world of pornography. By age 11, children who have access to screens (phones, tablets, computers) have seen pornographic images. The introduction of social media is even scarier. Children can be bullied on Snap Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Not just bullied, but tormented, and stalked. Parents need to exercise extreme caution about exposing their children to this world.

The more time your child spends on social media, the more likely they will suffer from depression.

Limiting screen time, talking about social media—even sharing an account together—helps keep parents involved. Don’t give in, as a parent, to the demands of a sulking child or teenager. Your duty as a parent is to protect them from all you know is out there.

Spend more time outside and in the company of real friends—the ones you can play kickball with in the yard outside. Carve out time to spend camping, fishing, hiking—spend an afternoon studying bugs collected in jars. Keep your children involved in a close relationship with you, as a parent. The strength of that bond adds to their resiliency.

  1. Family Structure is a Very Big Deal

What’s going on at home? Family Structure—divorces, single parenting, is much more likely to produce a more stressful atmosphere for children. Teens who live with a single parent have twice the rate of suicide than a child living in an intact family. Read that last sentence twice. Think long and hard before you fight with your spouse and decide on a divorce.

The relationship young children and adolescents have with parents is critical. Fathers are important, but the most important relationship is the one with mother. Children and teens who participate in activities with their mother have half the rate of suicide. Read that last sentence again. Motherhood is the most important mission a woman will ever embark upon. Yes, I know I will take lots of political heat for saying this—but, it’s true.

Because this is an article on depression, I’m putting the tell-tale symptoms here for reference.
Symptoms of Depression will vary from person to person, but the early signs of the disease may include the following:

1. Fatigue and low energy
2. Body aches, headaches and cramps that do not have a clear physical cause
3. Irritability
4. Insomnia or excessive sleep
5. Feeling of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
6. Losing interest in activities once loved
7. Difficulty in concentration or decision-making
8. Appetite changes
9. Weight gain or loss
10. Morbid and suicidal thoughts
11. Loss of confidence and social withdrawal

To sum this up—I’d say we have a huge problem with depression among our children in America. You, as a parent, have more control over this than you might think. That all-important family structure is key to the development of healthy kids. Social media and what’s taught in school is going to be a massive challenge. However, if you spend a lot of time with your child from birth to age 7, you can inculcate values and principles in them that will be difficult to change. In other words, you—as a parent—have incredible power and sway over your children. How you live your life, what you teach them, how you interact with your children makes all the difference.

Young people are our future. Let’s handle them with clear boundaries and tender loving care.

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Independent author, Ava Armstrong, writes thrillers and romance – yes, she dares to combine the two; such a renegade! After more than a decade in corporate America with a four-billion dollar company, Armstrong decided to focus on her true love: writing literature that could be read by the average human being. Ava describes herself as a Constitutional Conservative, and sleeps with a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver. She has one child, whom she loves, and her collection of firearms, which she loves slightly less, and a special affinity for Glocks and tactical shotguns. Her favorite things are the smell of molten metal at the shooting range, motor oil that drips from vintage 1940's Indian motorcycles, and the scent of sandalwood soap. You'd have to read her novels to understand that more deeply. Who are the heroes in Ava's novels? Everyday men and women who do extraordinary things. Veterans, policemen, farmers, hard-working middle-class folks, all striving and struggling to make the world a better place. From homeless vets to women living quiet lives of desperation, Armstrong transports readers to a small town, writing complex characters and stories that often stir strong emotion.