Teenage depression goes beyond moodiness and growing pains. Teens struggling with depression feel like their lives are unraveling.
“It’s estimated that one in five adolescents from all walks of life will suffer from depression at some point during their teen years.” Depression is a treatable disease; unfortunately, most teens never seek help.
What are the Signs of Teens Struggling with Depression?
Depression can be difficult to spot and diagnose. Signs of teen depression include:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Irritability, anger, or hostility
- Tearfulness or frequent crying
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities
- Poor school performance
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Restlessness or agitation
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Thoughts of death or suicide
When teenage depression goes untreated, it can lead to suicide. “Seriously depressed teens, especially those who also abuse alcohol or drugs, often think about, speak of, or make attempts at suicide.”
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Parents should get informed! They can help to reduce the stigma surrounding teenage depression and suicide.
How Can Parents Help? Learn the 4 Undeniable Facts:
Before attempting to help your teen struggling with depression, remember 4 important facts:
- Your loved one’s illness is not your fault (or your loved one’s fault).
- You can’t make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding, and hope.
- Each person experiences a mood disorder in a different way, with different symptoms.
- The best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions.
You Can’t Fix Teenage Depression on Your Own
Concerned family members should seek professional help. “Medications and psychotherapy are effective treatments.” Parents can also consult school counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, or local mental health professionals.
Don’t Tell Teens to “Snap Out of it.”
Depression is a disease that requires treatment. Think of it as getting help for diabetes, asthma, cancer, or high blood pressure.
Never say, “get over it,” “just be happy,” or “stop whining.” This makes depression worse, and reinforces negative stigmas.
Instead, say helpful things, such as:
- “I’m here for you.”
- “I care.”
- “I may not understand your pain, but I can offer my support.”
- “You are a worthwhile person and you mean a lot to me.”
- “Don’t give up. You can get though this.”
Take Care of Yourself First
“Take care of yourself so you are able to be there for your loved one.” Parents can reach out to understanding family members, therapists, or support groups.
With the right treatment, depression is a manageable disease. Teens who seek help can live healthy and thriving lives.
To learn more about depression and ways to help, click here.