Identifying and Helping Teen Depression | January 11, 2018

By Nicole Friedman, LSW

Growing up and being an adolescent can be a very difficult stage to go through. With the added pressures of school, home life, making friends, and even social media, can impact a teens mood and daily life. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, in 2015 approximately 3 million adolescents between the ages of 12-17 struggled with depression. Depression impacts 20 percent of adolescents before they reach adulthood with teen suicide being the third leading cause of death between the ages of 10-24.  It’s important as parents and adult guardians of teens that you are aware of teen depression.

For parents who suspect their teenager may be struggling with teen depression, there are symptoms to look for, along with ways to help your adolescent. Symptoms to look for in your teen include, poor performance in school, as well as withdrawal from friends and activities. Lack of energy and enthusiasm along with anger, agitation, and restlessness may also be symptoms of depression. Change of sleep patterns and eating habits with thoughts of suicide are also symptoms to pay close attention to.

Teen Depression

Parents can help their teen with depression by improving their communication. Focus on listening and not judging your teen by avoiding criticism when they speak to you and letting your teen know you are there for them 100 percent. Also be gentle and acknowledge your teens feelings. Acknowledging the sadness they are going through can make them feel supported. Also avoid your teen from becoming isolated by encouraging them to go out with friends or becoming involved in activities that they enjoy such as a sport or a club. Physical health is also important in helping your teen with depression. By promoting exercise, preparing nutritious meals, and making sure your teen gets plenty of sleep can boost their mood. Recognizing that your teen may need additional support then you can provide is also extremely beneficial. When looking for further treatment for your teen such as a counselor, include your teen in that decision making process and let them choose who they would feel most comfortable with.

If you suspect that your teen may be struggling with teen depression and are looking for further treatment, Jewish Family Service counselors are here to help. They can be contacted by calling 570-344-1186.