It's been a hard year. With COVID-19 and negativity abound in the media, it's understandable kids and teens may be depressed. Adults too, for that matter. With untreated depression can come, as a worst case scenario, suicide. In Iowa, suicide rates have increased in recent years showing we're far from immune. Now, if you're a parent and you have concerns that you have a child that is depressed, but isn't sharing their feelings with you, it's important you become familiar with some of the code they may be using to tell friends that they are depressed.

That brings us to TikTok, loved by Gen Z. If you haven't been following recent trends, has taken over Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and others to become the short-video-posting platform.  It has become so popular in fact that it's not just the younger generation using it. And in reality, there's some pretty great content on TikTok . It's not something to be concerned with as a platform - but like all other social media platforms, it's important to monitor your kids behavior when they're using it.

As discussed in the New York Post, one phrase that is commonly used to express depression by younger users of TikTok is 'I had pasta tonight.' This seemingly innocent phrase has become code for experiencing depression or even suicidal thoughts. This statement, and slight variations of it, are now a way TikToks users can signal for help and support without being blunt. If you know of someone who's expressed this or a similar line on the platform, it would be a good idea to engage them in discussion, or point them in a direction where they can receive help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.

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