Neglected adolescent depression: sick children, first have a sick home

WHO estimates that there are about 350 million depression patients in the world. As a common disease, depression has become the second largest “killer” of human beings after cancer. In recent years, depression has a clear trend of younger age. Compared with adults, depression in adolescents is less likely to be detected. When the parent-child relationship needs to be repaired and social fears need to be overcome, it is not individuals, but families. Youth pause button Li Yue, 48, once felt that she was the most powerful woman in the world. She is from the county seat of Chongqing. She is diligent and capable. She works in the local community and runs a teahouse. The annual income is considerable. Her husband works as a teacher in the best middle school in the county, and pays her salary. His son, Yang Yuming, has excellent grades and was admitted to a national key middle school in Chongqing before the high school entrance examination. There are only three places in the school. “I really thought he had entered a good university with one foot.” At that time, Li Yue was full of energy, and went out early to take care of business and pave the way for his son. Every exam, my son will bring good news. But one day, my son called from the city: “Mom, my stomach hurts.” After entering high school in 2014, his son started feeling abdominal pain and poor sleep. Li Yue took him to check and was diagnosed with moderate anxiety and later developed severe depression. When her son called, she still felt that it was “fuzzing” and never thought that the phone would become a turning point in her life. Today, his son has been absent from school for two years due to depression. It’s hard not to notice Li Yue at this parent-child camp where adolescent depression is healed. She is not tall and has a haggard face with a slight smile. She ran back and forth on the spot, responsible for registering family information and arranging one-on-one consultations. From time to time, I heard her yelling: “The XX family, it’s yours.” Zhang Jin, the head of the parent-child camp, said that she is very capable. Zhang Jin used to be a media person. After suffering from depression in 2011, the focus of life has changed. After one year of treatment and recovery, he wrote a book on the diagnosis and treatment of depression, “Overcoming”, and opened a public account for popular science. Over the past few years, a group of readers and patients have gathered to “get through” and become a large-scale depression community in China. A community elder said that because of the high incidence of youth depression, the number of parents in the community has increased “almost explosively” in the past two years. As of January 2019, the “Overcoming” community includes a total of 29 WeChat online groups such as reading, writing, and running. There are 9 family members, all of which are parent groups, and the number is approaching 5,000. When consulting, the distressed parents often almost choked up before speaking. “Overcoming” will regularly gather recovered patients, doctors and consultants to hold online parent school. However, Zhang Jin gradually discovered that many practical problems need to be solved face to face, especially when the parent-child relationship needs to be repaired and social fears need to be overcome, it is not individuals but families that are behind the youth anti-depression. “Too many families and children need to be rescued. That is the feeling of finding no way out in the dark.” said a parent. On December 30, 2018, the second parent-child camp of “Overcoming” started in Suzhou. It snowed heavily in Suzhou that day, snow fell, and the body was immersed in the cold, which seemed to echo the mood of these families. Zhang Jin said that he planned to recruit 22 families, but there were too many applicants, and finally it was expanded to 36 families, of which 8 families participated in the first Hangzhou camp. Li Yue is both a participant and a volunteer in the camp. She and Zhang Jin met in April 2017, when her son was most depressed. At that time, Zhang Jin planned to write a new book to look for representative cases of depression in China. Some readers suggested that he pay attention to adolescents, claiming that the latter has become a peak incidence. Zhang Jin felt that he was still unable to touch it at the time, “This is the most complicated and difficult piece. Because adolescent patients are at a critical period in their lives, many things are superimposed on each other.” But things backfired. Zhang Jin kept encountering teenage cases during interviews. When he was still in the first stop in Guizhou, several parents from Sichuan and Chongqing came in, and Li Yue was one of them. She took the initiative to drive to Guizhou to pick up Zhang Jin. “There is no inspiration to be a parent-child camp. There are too many parents.” In the final book, Zhang Jin recorded 13 cases, more than half of the onset period was in adolescents. Zhang Jin said that in recent years, depression has a clear trend of younger age. Studies have shown that the prevalence of depression among Chinese adolescents and young people aged 10-24 has increased significantly from 2005 to 2015, close to the global prevalence rate of 1.3%, females are higher than males, and it increases with age. At that meeting, Zhang Jin saw Li Yue’s son Yang Yuming and immediately understood that he was suffering. The boy’s face was pale and his eyes were blank. He had