Dear Auntie, I have a teacher who does not know how to handle depressed kids like myself. Any tips on how I can teach her?
The student schooling the teacher. I love it.
For starters, I want to applaud you for advocating for yourself. Not many people are self-aware enough to do this. Go you! For real.
Hmmm. Maybe we’ve got a teacher who just isn’t aware of what’s going on with her students. That’s a shame. Maybe the symptoms you feel you’re showing may be super obvious to you, but are failing to translate into something she should be concerned about. Maybe she’s chalking it up to something else, like typical teenage behavior, a phase, or experimenting.
While we hope that our teachers would be able to identify mental health issues, we have to keep in mind that teachers are imperfect people too and sometimes need a little help.
Depression symptoms can show itself differently in people, as there are different types of depression. Severe depression might be displayed in symptoms such as suicide attempts, severe withdrawal, or emotional swings. However, the vast majority of cases are much milder and tend not to attract attention from adults. Moreover, children and adolescents are not as likely as adults to refer themselves for mental health problems, which just shows your maturity. Typical treatment for depression can be through counseling, medication, or both.
If you think your teacher is unaware of your depression, maybe the best way to approach her would be to tell her directly. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, talk to your school counselor, another mental health professional from your school or tribal clinic, or a trusted adult…or better yet, your parents. The right one of these people can be your best advocate and help you to get the emotional and academic support you need.
Here are some resources that can help you with your teacher:
- Talk with your School Counselor/ School Psychologist
- The National Association of School Psychologist – is a good resource to share with your teacher: Depression: Supporting Students at School.
I applaud you for advocating to get better support in the classroom, but I want to make sure this is happening outside of the classroom too. To find a counselor check with:
- Tribal Clinic
- Your School, or University
- Mental Health America has a zip code locator to help you find clinics near you with low-cost or sliding scale services. They also have a Crisis hotline you can call: 1-800-273-TALK
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America also has a zip code locator you can check out.
I hope this helps and thanks for writing in!