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Teen Depression: What Every Parent Should Know by Lena Moore-LSW, CADC, Type 73 (CEO/Founder-YCEC)

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (29)


Mental health issues are becoming more common in teenagers. Approximately, 5% of teens in America can suffer from depression at any given point and astonishingly this number is rising. Furthermore, about 20% of teens will experience it before they become adults.

Here are some things to look out for:


  • Thoughts of suicide or attempts at suicide
  • Constant low mood, lasting for several weeks or months
  • Wanting to sleep more than is usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite or refusing to eat; despite treatment, having digestive problems
  • A decrease in energy; fatigue
  • Overeating
  • Withdrawal from family and social activities
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Irritability, anxiety, and/or feelings of hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating, focusing, or making decisions
  • Difficulties at school


Symptoms for every teen is different, not all will experience each listed above. No longer being sociable and not showing care in the quality of the work they do in school can be common warning signs, however, the remainder of the symptoms can come and go, or never show up at all. Parents should also keep in mind, that if they have a teen who is depressed, the mood disorder greatly increases the chances of partaking in substance abuse. Furthermore, because over 50% of children over the age of 13 are more likely to turn to substance abuse when they are depressed, this complicates treatment as there are 2 problems to address- the depression along with the substance abuse. In addition, trouble at home, genetic predisposition to mental illnesses, and/or abuse can increase the likelihood that a teen suffers from depression.

There is good news however, parents need not fret! Depression in teens is treatable. The most important thing for parents to remember is, the sooner they recognize there is a problem, the sooner they can get help for their teen. Once a parent recognizes there is a problem, they should immediately take their teen to their doctor who will be able to advise or recommend how to move forward as well as what forms of treatment to consider. For the most part, teenagers can win the battle of depression with the right and appropriate support.

For further information consult your family doctor and you can go to the following websites:



If experiencing thoughts of suicide:


  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They are available 24/7
  • Teens can get text support from the Crisis Text Line by texting “listen” to 741-741
  • Call 911



Youth and Community Empowerment Coalition-Special Guest at the Hadiya Pendleton Intergenerational Summit 2014

Posted on November 8, 2014 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (403)

On November 8, 2014, YCEC was invited as a special guest to the Hadiya Pendleton Intergenerational Summit.  This event was organized by Hadiya's Promise, an organization created by Nate and Cleopatra Pendleton in memory of their daughter, Hadiya Zaymara Pendleton.  Hadiya was fatally gunned down in a Chicago park on January 29, 2013 after completing her final exams.   One week prior, Hadiya, a student at King College Prep in Chicago, had been performing with King College Prep's Band in Washington for President Barack Obama's 2nd inauguration.

CEO/Founder, Lena Moore and two Youth Representatives, Jabria Torrey and Shakaylah Anderson were in attendance at the summit, as well as nine other organizations.   The purpose was to have youth representatives of the organizations in attendance, to participate in reviewing Hadiya's Promise 2015 Policy Agenda and make recommendations that youth reps. believed to be the most important to address as well as, to make any additional recommendations.  Policy Agendas included: Gun Violence Prevention, At-risk Youth programming, and Support for Families Impacted by Violence.   In addition, YCEC attendees were asked to assist in the set-up of the event. The Summit also surprised attendees with a guest appearance by City of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel who addressed attendees about the importance of the work being done during the summit.

Youth and Community Empowerment Coalition would like to say a special thanks to Hadiya's Promise founders Nate and Cleopatra Pendleton, their son Nate Jr., as well as staff members David Reynolds-Digit Media Director and Sylvia Ewing-External Relations Director who made possible our attendance.  It was an honor and a privilege to be allowed to partner with them and other organizations as well as to be asked to participate in such a much needed, important and urgent call to action.

YCEC is committed to not letting Hadiya's memory and the work of her parents be in vain.  We vow to make a continued effort to support peace in our city, Chicago.

To learn more about Hadiya's story and the efforts of her parents, the Pendletons, please go to the website of Hadiya's Promise at