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Experts see a rise in teen Depression, one advocate helps teens in Rochester

Local News

Shalinda Bollar Is from Rochester, a couple of years ago, while in high school, she battled with depression. 

“Coming from my area, as much as they have passion and love there’s a lot of hurt and trauma and damage that has been done so I see, various things, I’ve seen people crumble under the pressure, dealing with depression and anxiety, suicide things like that,” said Bollar, Teen Empowerment Associate Coordinator. 

Shalinda now works at Teen Empowerment, a local Rochester group that helps other teens overcome challenges. She helps educate and lead youth initiatives within the community. She says there isn’t one way to identify teens suffering from depression. 

“Depression isn’t something that can be easily defined because it’s different and everyone experiences it differently,” said Bollar. 

Today’s teens are more depressed than at any other point since teen depression has been measured. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2015, the number of teens visiting emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts or attempts has doubled.

Things like social media have caused majors changes in how teens communicate- some experts say this has increased anxiety and lowered self-esteem. 

“When I was a kid we just had a yearbook at the end of the year that we had to worry about but for teenagers today every day they have to re-shape their identity,” said David Garrison, Medical Director of Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry URMC.  

Experts with the Rochester mental health association work with family and children to overcome depression. 

They emphasize parent education, noting they play an essential role in overcoming the disease. 

“Like in our family support services, the child is not our client the parent is our client and it’s us and what we do is we empower the parent with as much resources so they can be the most effective advocate for their child that they can.”  Melanie Funchess, Mental health association.

The mental health association held a conference in May to spread education on mental health.

They say the first step to overcoming depression is seeking help, and there are multiple options available. 

“There are pharmacological solutions, there are pills there are medications, but there’ also behavioral things that you can do, just changing your behavior changing your diet that can help as well,” said Funchess.

For Shalina, every day is a work in progress.

“My journey has been up and down.I’ve accomplished a lot of great things that I’m really proud of. Some days I feel like I could have done better, but I still have time,” said Bollar. 

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