How A Cleveland Teen Shines A Light On Depression

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Seventeen-year-old Josh Ruminski is like a conductor is his parent’s kitchen on the West side of Cleveland.  On any given night, you will find him leading them through the process of creating scented candles for his Happy Thoughts candle company he created about a year ago.

Josh is a successful entrepreneur. He does well academically, is active in many organizations and hopes to attend Harvard University.  Despite all of these achievements, he struggles internally with serious self-doubt and has been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety.

Mental health advocates are concerned about the rising rate of depression among young people.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a 2015 survey showed that 12 percent of children, between the ages of 12 to 17, reported having at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

And experts say too many teens suffering from severe depression are not getting the treatment they need.

Josh and his parents have been fortunate in that they have navigated their way into treatment that is helping him manage his disease.

Twice Josh’s depression spiraled out of control to the point he tried to take his own life.

After the second incident Josh found a therapist that he really trusted – and says he opened up to her. He was also prescribed medication to help regulate his depression and anxiety.

Josh says counseling has helped him realize how thinking in certain ways can drive his depression.

“It’s a lot of black and white thinking, which means its all or nothing. If I cannot give the world everything and every piece of my being then I failed and if I failed I’m worthless,” he said.

Experts say it’s important for parents – as well as healthcare providers -- to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms in adolescents.

Signs and symptoms that a teen may be depressed include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in things he or she normally enjoys
  • Poor school performance and changes in eating and sleeping habits.

When adolescents are suffering from depression they may engage in more reckless or acting out behavior, said Wendy Hahn, PHD,  clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Sometimes what you'll see with adolescence is rather than being sad or angry or irritable or you may hear them mention the word bored – that’s another word you may hear them describe,” she said.




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