Channel 8 On Your Side: What to do if your teenager is in crisis

By: Gayle Guyardo Dec 09, 2016

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Are they just being a teen or is your child in crisis?

Teenage depression and anxiety is on the rise, and many times kids don’t know who to turn to. When the pressure mounts, some go to extreme measures to end the pain. Now there are new programs in place in Hillsborough and Pinellas county to help kids in crisis.

“Our program was designed to fill that void and fill that crack and helping young people transitioning into becoming young adults,” said Kiara Santiago with Success 4 kids & Families “Healthy Transition” program.

The program helps identify young people that fall through the cracks who need mental health services.

“There is no judgement and everything is confidential,” said Alexius Stewart, who called 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares when she hit a breaking point.

Now Stewart has a support group through the Healthy Transitions program and is feeling better with each passing day.

Stewart is not alone, there is a major gap between the ages of 16 and 25, where young people fall through the cracks of the system and don’t have resources for care. The problem isn’t just here in Tampa Bay, there is a spike in depression rates in that age range, especially among girls.

For parents and loved ones identifying if a child I having mood changes or truly depressed can be difficult. Tampa psychologist Dr. Wendy Rice says look for mood changes.

“We typically say if the moodiness is going on for two weeks, or longer heads up if the child is crying, really really upset or really irritable you want to find out what’s going on.” Dr. Wendy Rice also keep an eye out for changes in school performance, appetite, and sleep patterns, which are all signs something is wrong.

Rice also says depression doesn’t just cure itself so don’t wait to get help.

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