What Should You do if Your Teen is Depressed?
posted by: Guest Blogger
Every 100 minutes a teen takes their own life. Nearly 20% of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood.
Before I began researching teen depression for one of my own, I was clueless to the simple factors around the topic. As I stumbled deeper into the studies and facts around teen depression, my heart grew heavier by the minute. As parents, whether or not we think our children are depressed, it’s almost a guarantee they know someone who is. Being educated around the topic can only empower us as a generation.
What is Depression
Depression is considered a mental health disorder that affects the mood. Depression is often compared to the feeling of being sad. Although, sadness fades. Whereas, depression is an ongoing series of symptoms that can begin to interfere with everyday life. Depression is not a condition that will simply heal itself. It has to be treated.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression can be subtle, but they’re consistent. Untreated symptoms only get worse with time possibly leading to suicide. That is why it’s so important to pay attention to your teenager if you think they might be struggling.
- Regular feelings of sadness, anxiousness, or being empty
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or helplessness
- You may notice them withdrawing from friends/ family
- Grades dropping
- Lack of interest in normal daily activities and/or hobbies
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleeping
- Angry outbursts or risky behavior
- Inflicting self-harm (cutting or burning)
- Complaints of pains with no direct cause (headaches, body aches)
- Suicidal remarks or making suicide plans with the intention of fulfilling
This is not a complete list of potential symptoms. These are the most commonly seen signs in teens.
Being a teenager in today’s society is challenging. There are so many different outside influences contributing to how they feel, as well as how they typically view themselves. Experiencing low self-esteem is colossal in teens being depressed.
Having a stable and supportive home system is one of the most important foundations for a teen. Whether teens know it or not, having a healthy relationship with their parents is fundamental to their success.
Seek to have a healthy relationship with your teen. This part can be hard because they often push. They barely want anything to do with you. But, they push, you push back. That way when they find themselves in a tricky situation you’re the first person they want to confide in.
When to Get Help
If the symptoms don’t subside, before letting it get any worse, reach out to your pediatrician. They can provide you with resources to seek a specialist who is focused on adolescent depression. From there, a plan can be implemented depending on the severity of depression.
If you need immediate assistance:
Call a Suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can use its Web chat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat