Forum to discuss adolescent depression, anxiety set for Oct. 28

As part of its efforts to educate the public on mental health, Pacific Medical Centers is hosting a forum on adolescent depression and anxiety from 10-11:30 a.m. on Oct. 28 at its Canyon Park clinic.

The clinic is located at 1909 214th St. S.E., Set 300, in Bothell.

The forum, called Out of the Silence, will provide parents and guardians with information about adolescent depression, anxiety, mental health and well-being, including risk factors, warning signs and support.

Dr. Brandi Shah will be the primary speaker at the forum.

“I’ve just noticed an uptick in my diagnosis of anxiety and depression,” Shah said.

So she thought it would be helpful to host a forum for parents to learn and understand how to pick out the signs of illnesses like depression and how to seek help.

She said some of the symptoms of depression are increased irritability, changes in sleep patterns, over eating, removing themselves from family situations, not being interested in the things they used to enjoy, isolating themselves, thinking it would be better if they weren’t around or thinking there’s no point in working hard at school.

It’s tricky with teens, because some of these symptoms are part of normal adolescence. Shah said if these symptoms last longer than a couple of weeks or they’re becoming more aggressive and intense, then it’s likely a sign on depression.

Millions of Americans struggle with mental illness every day. One in five adolescent children, ages 13-18, are being diagnosed with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“I would love for parents who are seeing these symptoms to come to this forum,” Shah said. “I would also love for parents who are not seeing these symptoms to come to this forum.”

The first half hour of the forum will be an opportunity for parents to speak to each other and learn what they’re dealing with at home. Then Shah will give a presentation about what she’s heard and some basics of what is known about depression and anxiety. She will introduce resources and strategies to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

The forum will wrap-up with a question-and-answer section.