Study questions if parents responding to children’s depression and anxiety

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DENVER -- A new study showed many parents are in denial about their child’s depression and anxiety. “It does kind of wear on you,” said 14-year-old Aidan Maloof.

Aidan had a hard time in 8th grade when, instead of an engineering class, counselors put him in drama.

“With it being acting, there was ridicule about sexuality or various things,” said Aidan.

He said it was constant enough, he started questioning himself. “You really start doubting yourself and thinking, ‘Are they right? Am I not who I think I am,’” he said. “I became really lethargic and I didn’t want to do anything at all.”

But, Aidan built the courage to tell his mother and together, they got help.

“I think it knocked him for a loop and he couldn’t see the way out,” said mother Donna Hickey. “I was definitely concerned and that’s why we went to a therapist,” said Hickey.

But all parents are not the same.

A study by Yahoo Parenting and Silver Hill Hospital revealed nearly 65 percent of parents think their teen is suffering from depression or anxiety and nearly half of teens have confided in their parents.

But only 18 percent have been diagnosed.

“The first thing they really need to do is not only listen to the word of their child, but actually watch their behaviors and take them really seriously,” said Dr. Sheryl Ziegler.

Ziegler said depression and anxiety are becoming more common in teens because of new-age issues.

“A lot of parents can’t even relate to the types of "stressors" that are going on between social media and between new trends on how kids actually deal with their sadness, such as cutting,” said Ziegler.

But despite the reasons why, she encourages teenagers to be brave and seek help, just like Aidan did.

“I’ve become a lot more confident as an individual,” Aidan said. “If you don’t talk to anyone, chances are the problem is going to continue to grow.”

Ziegler said parents should watch for a change in appetite, sleep and mood in their children.

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