Teen depression addressed


By Nancy Edwards 

Teenagers are facing more stress than ever; not only from the pressure to achieve high SAT scores, grades and top performance in sports or other activities. Today’s prevalence of social media such as Facebook creates even more forms of bullying.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of adults will have had depression by the end of their teen years, yet 60 percent of them do not receive help. In addition, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10-24-year-olds.

“Mental illness, especially depression, is so misunderstood and continues to remain a stigma in our community,” said Fishers resident Mike Riekhof. “Along with the stigma, there can be devastating consequences including suicide.”

Last summer, Riekhof and his wife, Mitzi, lost their 18-year-old daughter, Peyton, to suicide.

“Parents feel pretty helpless,” Riekhof said. “They’re trying to find help for their kids.”

On March 17, area mental health professionals will team up with Kevin Breel, a 20-year-old stand-up comedian that suffers from depression, for a presentation followed by a question and answer session at Hamilton Southeastern High School. The program is sponsored by HSE Parents in Partnership and Young Life.

During the day, Breel will also speak with juniors at HSEHS and FHS.

Topics addressed in the discussion include how to understand mental health and help a friend who may be dealing with depression, addiction, self-injury or suicide, how to handle adversity, pain and difficult times, knowing when and where to seek help and how to ask for it, encouraging honest conversations and finding a sense of community in school and in life and learning acceptance, self-love and empathy for others.

Representatives from mental health/addiction centers including Aspire, Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis, Center for Hope, and Lotus Group will attend the event, be available for questions and hand out literature, as well as Chaucie’s Place and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. In addition, the Fishers Police Dept. will attend the presentation.

“We need to bring an awareness that this is an illness just like a cough and cold or cancer. People need to talk about it without bring afraid. We have got to come together as community and help anybody that has a mental illness,” Riekhof said.

For more information about Breel, visit www.kevinbreel.com

If you go: 

“Stand Up for Mental Health with Hope, Help and Community” will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 17 at Hamilton Southeastern High School’s Leonard Auditorium, 13910 E 126th St, Fishers. For more information about this free event, visit http://www.hse.k12.in.us. Doors will open around 6:30 p.m. with mental health organizations available before the presentation.