Tuesday, July 7, 2009


As part of the school curriculum in Year 7 and 9, we cover mental health with a particular focus on depression. The other week my Year 7 class and I watched a very moving episode of Australian Story called "The Girl Least Likely". The episode is quite confronting but I am so glad we watched it because young people and their families need to be aware of the issue of teenage depression and just how serious it is. Hannah's story highlights so well the fact that depression can affect anyone. The background to this story is provided below:

This episode of Australian Story deals with a story of teenage suicide.

It is a sensitive and delicate issue. On the one hand, media silence about this important issue can lead to ignorance, and failure on the part of families, schools and communities to recognise the factors that lead to tragedy. On the other hand, any coverage of suicide can lead to fears of triggering ‘copycat’ behaviour in others, or of causing undue distress to friends, family and the broader community.

The Australian Story program team carefully weighed up all these factors in deciding to tell this story.

In the first instance, the story was born out of a determination by the family involved to tell its story. They were encouraged in this determination by the grief counsellor from the Coroner’s Court who worked with the family, and who felt it was important both to the immediate family and to the wider community that the issue be confronted and openly discussed. The key issue is that adolescent depression, if untreated, can kill. It was this hidden depression that led to suicide in this case, and it was a desire to prevent that happening to another family which has driven this program from the beginning.

I have provided the link to the episode is here. I really would encourage everyone to view it, particularly parents of teenage children. 

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