FCPS sponsors depression presentations


Christine Tamir

Junior Rizwana Noor stresses over her math homework; stress developed from school helps account for teen depression.

Think of your English class. Typically around 30 students. 5 of these students have considered suicide. 2.5 of these students have made a non-fatal attempt. 1 student will have made an attempt serious enough to require medical attention.

In any one school year, in a school of 2,000 students 620 students may be significantly depressed. 300 students may be considering suicide. 65 students may attempt suicide.

In Virginia, there is an average of one youth suicide a week. Suicide is the leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds in Virginia. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be.

Suicide is preventable. FCPS is taking steps to prevent unnecessary teen suicide and to help treat teen depression. The Signs of Suicide (SOS) Depression Awareness Presentations have been used in other FCPS schools and has proven helpful to students. These presentations will be coming to AHS as well.

“I think [the presentations] are going to be very beneficial,” health teacher Gabe Romano said.

First, students will see a video that talks about teen depression and suicide. Afterwards students will be given a questionnaire to fill out.

“Based on the answers from the questionnaire if anybody wants to seek help they will know who to contact and where to go,” Romano said.

“I’ve had friends who are depressed and I think these presentations would have helped them,” sophomore Arbaz Hussain said.

Teen depression and suicide is a tricky topic, but it’s important to know that talking about it does help.

“The number one thing is to have the student talk to a counselor,” Romano said. “They need to talk to them and express their issues, whatever’s bothering them. They have to kind of vent and get it out.”

Often, if teens keep their issues bottled up they will turn to drugs and alcohol and other self-harming activities to express themselves.

Romano sees kids in his classes throughout the year showing signs of depression.

“You see kids withdrawn from class. Sometimes they look tired and sleepy or irritated,” Romano said.

Because Romano teaches health, he basically teaches the whole sophomore class so he gets to see everything.

Unfortunately, students typically don’t come forward in admitting that they have a problem.

“I think most teens are probably embarrassed. I think they are afraid what might happen if their friends find out so they keep it to themselves,” Romano said.

If you think you may be depressed or are contemplating suicide it’s incredibly important to seek help. Annandale has both a social worker and a psychologist available for you to talk to or you can talk to a teacher, counselor, or any other adult you can confide in.