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Before 15-year-old Nigel Shelby took his own life last week, he told his mother he was depressed. Camika Shelby said she knew her son was depressed "for months." There is no indication she got help for her son from a mental health professional.

Nigel came out as homosexual to his mother at age 12 or 13. Camika Shelby believes her son's sexual identity made him a target of bullies in hallways and classrooms. She said that the abuse, combined with his depression, led Nigel to take his own life.

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. About 2% of school children suffer from depression.

It may be difficult for parents to determine whether their child is suffering from depression or whether he is just feeling sad or down.

According to Kidshealth.org, depression can happen at any age. It's normal for kids to feel sad, down, or to be in bad moods occasionally. But when negative feelings and thoughts linger for weeks or months, limiting a child's ability to function normally, it might be depression, which requires medical treatment.

Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in children and be ready to act by getting help for your child.
 

Signs and Symptoms of depression in children:

  • Lack of energy or concentration
  • Poor appetite
  • Change in mood (angry, sad all the time)
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities
  • Change in sleep habits, seems tired all the time
  • Withdrawn from friends and family
  • Expressing suicidal ideations
  •  

    When a child is depressed he feels worthless, rejected, unloved or unlovable. He may isolate himself from other children or siblings. He may stay in his room all day or watch TV for prolonged periods of time.

    When depression worsens, it can lead kids to give up hope of ever feeling better. He may think about self-harm or suicide.
     

    SEEK HELP

    If your child comes out as LGBT, and later says he is depressed, resist the temptation to blame his depression on society or lack of tolerance or acceptance. That may help you to fell better, but it won't lift his depression.

    Your son is depressed because his brain chemistry is out of balance. Certain chemicals in his brain may be in excess (high dopamine) or too low (low serotonin).

    These chemicals can be restored to normal with medication and/or therapy to help him understand his mood disorder and to teach him coping skills that will help him later on in life.

    Kidshealth.org suggests scheduling a visit with your child's doctor to get a referral.

    Unfortunately, thanks to the LGBT agenda, many therapists and psychologists avoid LGBT children or adults out of fear of losing their licenses or being accused of practicing "conversion therapy."

    Visit Kidshealth.org for more information on getting help for your depressed child.

    If you are having thoughts of suicide, someone is waiting to speak with you at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is available 24 hours-a-day.

    DISCLAIMER

    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. Sandrarose.com and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

    • KJBibleOnSlavShips

      The fathers are gone.Please blk men do better.

    • KK

      The articles I read said she was taking him to doctors regularly and was going to see a therapist.

    • suganspice68

      I feel so hurt for his mother about her losing her baby;she loved him so much and tried her best to help him.

    • INDUSTRY GURU

      If you look across other african american blogs you wont see this story or attention brought to this issue

      My question is why...?

    • Renee26

      How people treat you can definitely lead to depression. Imagine what constant attacks can do to a persons self esteem.

      Not everyone has thick skin to deal with a lot of negative outside influences and attacks...

      Stay involved in your kids lives and ask questions

    • Bossy704

      I was just talking to a friend yesterday who lost his 19 year old to suicide. The boy's mother never told him the son was depressed. The family hid it and no one took him to a doctor. It is heartbreaking.

    • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

      Fear of discussing mental illness or any health related condition is a result of toxic masculinity--that the black man is strong as is the black woman so even any discussion of having an illness is considered weakness and won't be tolerated.

    • justlooking

      Awww I'm so sorry to hear of this. My heart hurts for you and your friend. I have a 22 year old and I would so devastated. EHUG

    • BythegraceofGodIcanexplain

      Black men has been targeted for years, So being an "alpha"male is like a threat. They'll take that easy road in life and become gay which cause depressing from chemical inbalance. No one seem to care since he's not a threat to society that Reagan Macneil the 40th president spew out with drug epidemic era .

    • Sushi

      This is why my brother, his wife and I talk to his kids on a daily, about their feelings, and issues at school, if any one of them come in the house with a grade lower than a B, we have a family meeting, with me on facetime of course. With my 13, year old neice and 9 year old nephew, we keep them busy and off of social media, the 5 year old, is reading on a 2nd grade level, and we are teaching her, her time tables, we keep them busy, we keep the phones out of their hands. Down time is conversation time, they ask me questions about why my brother and I are different, and we tell them to their own understanding of course. We teach them tolerance, but we also teach them to defend themselves , if they are disrespected, and to only fight if someone hits them. It's called parenting, most people either don't have the time, or don't take the time to do so, and that is our issue as people All people. ...

    • GAPeach

      Monday night my son (who is 9) declared he didn't want to go to school yesterday. I immediately grew suspicious because it's NOT in his character. He loves school. I grilled the hell out of him, and then went and talked to his teacher. Bottom line was, he really just wanted to stay home for the day. I just feel it's imperative to be proactive. Jump on it when you see the first signs. I'm not above going addressing parents directly over mine. It's my responsibility to make sure he's good.

    • INDUSTRY GURU

      This was my point - Props, to Sandra. Underated.

    • Parent

      Yes so true. For instance my daughter was experiencing being tormented by another student. He was white and good looking. He was always telling my daughter to shut up in class. It really broke her spirit. I went up to that school and told the teacher to please intervene when this white male devil shuns my daughter because when she slaps him upside the head then I don't want to tell you I told you so..

      I did end up having her see a licensed mental health counselor just to keep her talking and releasing.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      Actually, you can be loved by everyone in your family and your block, but still be depressed. I'm sure you've heard of well-loved celebrities committing suicide. This post explains that depression is a mental disorder due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. What you're describing is a sadness that's different from a persistent mood disorder that causes people to take their own lives. They feel depressed even when things are going well in their lives.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      You're a good mom. You handled that situation well. But let's not minimize the mental disorder depression by applying it to every instance of bullying.

    • Marlika

      I would like to know WTF his mammy was doing about the his depression and the bullying that went on?? Sounds like her sorry behind did nothing hoping it will all just go away.?????

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      Exactly. No one asked her that question because they would rather blame outside influences. The child told his mother he was depressed. She said he was depressed for months. What did she do about it? It sounds like she told him he was "normal" and that others should just accept him. He went to her for help and she failed him. She should have taken him to see a mental health professional.

    • Gloria

      Probably just prayed about it like most black families. SMH.

    • Marlika

      I feel the courts need to start getting involved with a child that is a bully. Their home life needs to be evaluated. Start holding the parents of the damn bullies accountable. ? A lot of these parents know their kids are bullies yet with encourage it or ignore it.

      When I worked with at risk youth, I did know allow bullying. I had it out with a few parents that didn’t like me checking their bully of a kid. ? I would also have talks with the bully and the kid that was being bullied( separately of course)

    • Marlika

      Man this breaks my heart. Poor baby was crying out for help and being ignored.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      Post a link. I read a few articles and I saw no mention of her taking him to see a therapist. It seems odd that she blames bullying for her son's death if she knew he suffered from depression. We minimize the disease when we blame outside factors such as bullying. Billions of people were bullied as children and they didn't commit suicide.

    • Marlika

      Black folks kill me thinking prayer takes care of everything.

    • Parent

      You're absolutely right Ms. Sandra. I actually wasn't sure if she was having a mental episode. She wasn't eating properly. She wasn't talking to me. Angry most of the time. She stills see's her counselor. It definitely helped us communicate better. I also see a difference in her mood and attitude.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      ? Your daughter is blessed to have you, because most parents in our community would've ignored her feelings.

    • Parent

      Thank you!

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      In nursing school we were taught that some mental illnesses aren't diagnosed until a child is in their teens. Back in the day parents hospitalized their children who suffered from clinical depression. That option is gone now thanks to Congress shutting down psychiatric hospitals.

    • Robert lee Bennett OG

      I really don’t understand how bullying can cause people to kill themselves Hell black folks was getting bullied in slavery but they was not killing themselves look all over the world folks don’t just resort to killing themselves because they get bullied...but I notice lgtq have a very high rate of suicide I think that’s from a related mental illness

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      When I was in the 10th grade, a white girl constantly bullied me. I was the perfect target because I was quiet and kept to myself. She would stand over me bullying me. One day, I stood up and punched her and broke her nose. I was suspended from school for 10 days. Instead of going back, I dropped out, took the GED test, and enrolled in junior college. I was the only 10th grader in junior college. ?

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      Bullying doesn't cause people to kill themselves. Depression does. But some of us would rather blame external factors.

    • Marlika

      I’m glad you stood up to her and found an alternative to your situations and it worked for you. You should not of have had to drop out of school. I bet if you look her up now she’s a POS who did nothing with her life.

    • Marlika

      Working with at risk youth and re-entry adults I noticed a while ago that mental illness is not diagnosed until it’s too late. I often wonder if they had gotten the help they needed, perhaps they would have taking a different path in life instead of the criminal justice system.

    • Marlika

      Sandra having this conversation with you has made me stop feeling down and get my behind back into school to finish my degree this fall. My end goal is to be a Forensic Psychologist working with at risk youth on the mental heath end.
      Thanks!
      Mental Health is subject that ignored too much! Especially in the black communities!

    • BythegraceofGodIcanexplain

      I'm so-so sorry that happened to you. Bless your heart but you bounced back with the quickness.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      ? ?? Congratulations! It's never too late to change fields.

    • BythegraceofGodIcanexplain

      That poor child's soul and his innocence has been taunted by darkness. Save a life and then prayers can be answered.

    • Y’all Jealous Cuz I’m Prudy

      I hear you Sandra but let's keep it real, outside factors can lead to depression. It depends on the severity and duration of those outside factors as well as the person's problem solving and coping skills. Plus, a lot of bullies are miserable as héll. That's why they are constantly on the look out for people to victimize. They need to know someone on the planet earth is just as "if not more", miserable than them.

    • Y’all Jealous Cuz I’m Prudy

      Hunny you're going to slide through those classes like
      https://media3.giphy.com/media/ZyvFtATzLrczE1QE7u/giphy.gif

    • IyanlaVanzantoftheInterWebs

      I agree with ALL this!

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      Depression is a mental illness that is treated with anti-depressant medications, therapy and sometimes requires hospitalization. Depression does not lift when you remove the "outside factors."

    • DeepThinker

      Sadly some don’t want to seek help for their child for fear they will be blamed for what’s wrong. So selfish.

    • Rayscoty

      " You better kill Mister now and think about heaven later"

    • Coffee1st

      We get annual physical check ups. I'd dare say annual mental health check ups should be a thing too. Preventative care for our bodies and but we neglect our minds until we're in the thick of some kind of crisis.
      With that being said, where I stand in regards to getting professional help should be evident. But make no mistake. Prayer works. If one doesn't have the faith/belief in prayer, then they get what they expect.
      He said Come in faith or don't come at all.

    • Renee26

      That's true too... But I still say being constantly under attack can put you in a depressed state...

      People aren't born with depression and it can be developed. Just like many other mental illnesses

    • MNjumpoffacliff

      My heart aches for this family. I recall a transgender and a gay classmate who were older and neither were taunted like these idiots do nowadays. That village we had in my day did wonders. My mom told me after the 2nd day of me running home her or ME and I beat Marie up that day. No more running. Rest in peace sweetheart smh

    • Renee26

      Glad you noticed her mood change and sought help. My son also struggled with depression and contemplated suicide as a child because of constant attacks from his peers.

    • Coffee1st

      Food for thought:
      Could it be that, originally, dealing with traumatic experiences and dealing with extreme emotional brokedness was a way of life for our ancestors...and due to this fact they had a "deal with it mentality" that was passed on from generation to generation. They HAD to develop various coping mechanisms just to survive which included a very hardened exterior and interior (the heart). Therefore compassion and empathy was never extended to their children...and their children never offered it to their children and so forth. Their attitude was deal with it and keep it moving. Now here we are, in the thick of a mental disorder "plague" and we're not addressing it. We, without necessarily knowing why, have that same mentality - weakness will not be tolerated. NOT MAKING EXCUSES FOR ANYONES FAILURE TO SEEK HELP FOR THEIR LOVED ONES - just looking at it from a historical perspective.
      I actually felt that way when my daughter was diagnosed. I knew better than to let her know that I was feeling like that....but I honestly did not understand. If it were not for my nursing background and work in mental health, I'd still feel the same way.

    • http://www.instagram.com/yeuphonic @yeuphonic

      You are absolutely correct.

      “Camika Shelby said Nigel had been regularly seeing doctors and psychiatrists to deal with his depression. “A lot of people don’t understand that depression is a real disease,” she also said earlier this month.”

    • Gloria

      Outside factors can’t cause depression. Depression is caused by a neurotransmitter- chemical imbalance. Outside factors can lead to situational sadness which the lay person confuses for depression. A person with generalized depressive disorder may experience situational sadness, however.

    • Chicagowise

      When I came along, the gay community was really a community. Young and old mixed and often formed surrogate families. The older queens assumed the role of mother, father, grandma, grandpa, etc.

      Most of the older queens that I encountered, seem to feel some sense of obligation to protect and school me. There were many times when their advice saved me from making crucial mistakes.

      While medications can help with some forms of depression, having a support system can be equally effective. Without knowing this child's medical history, it's hard to say what triggered him and what, if anything, could have saved him.

    • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

      You're part of the problem and people don't just become gay.
      Keep your ignorance to yourself.
      *blocked*

    • Whiplash(lacejagger)

      ??

    • GrambosTheHealer

      Thank God for this post. As a therapist...as a black lesbian therapist...the need for psycho-education in our community is uber important and not well received by our own people. The stigma against getting help for mental health is killing the black community. Encourage your people to go seek help. I tell all of my clients to encourage everyone they know to go to therapy at least once. Prayer isn't enough. Thank you Sandra Rose for this post!

    • Bdot

      I don't buy all this depression mess, especially the chemical imbalance attached to it. Teens have an under-developed frontal lobe; this is the part of the brain that we access to use logic, make decisions, rationalize, cope, etc. Teen depression has become a culture. Kids cutting themselves, doing other wild stuff, walking around supposedly depressed about nothing like it's wearing a badge recognizable by peers, etc. it's a culture and MANY of them are diving into it. Take yo damn kids off of social media because it is the main vehicle pushing the culture. Kids are on ig and snap romanticizing suicide and other dangerously retarded actions. That turns into manifestation and boom, suicide. Educated and involved parenting is the cure for this trend, not these dangerous medicines prescribed by quacks that have no remote idea how to cure or deal with their own ill-issued diagnoses. Mental illness in teens is largely a scam and a money grab by Big Pharma, and parents have been tricked to the point where many become hostage to the system, and even to the manipulations of their own children. Look at our history and then look at our present. Look at what's changed. Look at who ultimately benefits; your child? you? or the one making the diagnosis and selling the medicine?

    • sjames

      you saying things ppl don't wanna hear. I do blv some children are depressed. Absolutely. but they have a sick obsession with likes/follows and validation through informal means such as social media. they replace basic human interaction with fake shit and the fake becomes the real. they need zero access to that shit until they're responsible and even then a slow rollout bc this is sick

    • Y’all Jealous Cuz I’m Prudy

      Researched it and you're correct. I thought outside influences played a role in depression.

    • http://sandrarose.com SandraRose

      This is why I don't understand why she blamed bullying when she knew her son was sick. Back in the day, children like him were removed from school and hospitalized to keep them safe until their medications blood levels were therapeutic.