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  • If you or someone you know is struggling, text ACT to 741741 to contact the Crisis Text Line.

    You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. These are free and confidential services available 24/7.

Middle and high school can be a challenging time for everyone.

The independence and expectations can be a lot of fun, but they can also be stressful and scary. Your classes are more demanding, friendships can become complicated, and planning for the future can seem like a heavy weight. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and down at times. However, when you or someone you know feels that way for more than a couple of weeks, it might be a sign of depression and time for you to ACT.

ACT - Acknowledge, Care, Tell

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Acknowledge

That you see signs of depression or suicide in a friend or yourself.

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Care

Show your friend that you’re worried about them and offer support.

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Tell

A trusted adult so you can get help.

It’s normal to have bad days. If we didn’t, we might not appreciate all the good ones! But, what happens when those bad days stack up, or you can’t help feeling lousy? People often say they are “depressed” about something but then they seem happy the next day, so it’s hard to understand the difference between a bad day and depression.

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Signs of Depression

  • Lasting – feeling a strong mood that involves sadness, discouragement, despair, or hopelessness that lasts for a couple of weeks or more
  • Difficulty concentrating – it can be difficult to focus on school work or other things when someone is depressed
  • Negative thinking – a person who’s depressed may see everything as bad and unlikely to get better
  • Low energy – sometimes, people with depression don’t have much energy to get up and do what they used to enjoy
  • Easily irritated – depression can show up as a lasting mood of feeling irritable, easily annoyed, or angry

NOT Signs of Depression

  • Disappointed one afternoon because of a poor test grade
  • Feeling sad over an argument with a friend
  • Discouraged because your team is continuing its losing streak

Depression Myths vs. Facts

Myths about depression and suicide can separate people from effective treatments, so it’s important to know the facts.

Healthy Coping Strategies

Between challenging classes, extracurriculars, and managing relationships with families and friends, it can be easy to forget how to take care of yourself. Healthy coping strategies are really important to help you deal with stress.

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Journaling

Writing down your feelings can be really helpful to manage stressful situations. You can learn more about yourself if you spend a few minutes reflecting about your day in a journal. If you have trouble getting started, try jotting down a few lines of your feelings or three things you’re grateful for that day.

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Exercise

Physical activity is healthy for your body and mind by boosting your mood. Exercise can come in many forms such as running, biking, playing a sport, or even just walking your dog each day.  You should try to exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week and try activities that both raise the heart rate and work different muscle groups in your body.

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Healthy Eating

Eating well can make you feel better. Aim for three balanced meals per day which include fresh fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy like milk and yogurt; proteins such as chicken, fish, and beans; whole grains like brown rice or wheat bread; and healthy fats such as avocados and nuts.

It’s also important to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated. To calculate how much you need, take your weight and divide it by two. The number is how many ounces of water you should drink each day.

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Hobbies

People with social connections have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Try new hobbies where you can be around people and make new friends. This might include volunteering at your local animal shelter or joining a club at your school.

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