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How To Help Your Teen With Depression

Feb 18, 2022 | Blog, Adolescent Treatment, Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States, and it can affect people of all ages. Teens are especially vulnerable to depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 teens will experience depression before reaching adulthood. If you are concerned that your teen may be suffering from depression, it is crucial to know the signs and symptoms so that you can get them the help they need. In this blog post, we will discuss common signs and symptoms of depression in adolescents, as well as ways to help your teen overcome depression. To learn more about how to identify if your teenager needs help, click here. How do you know if your teenager needs help? (

Depression in Teens

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3.2% of individuals aged three to seventeen receive a depression diagnosis each year. Teen depression is frequently masked as typical mood swings that occur naturally throughout adolescence. However, ignoring it can lead to severe and risky behavior. Knowing what signs and symptoms to look out for is essential in ensuring your teen gets the help and support they need.

Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of depression, but not everyone experiences all of them. The most common signs and symptoms of teen depression include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless for more than two weeks
  • Losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Experiencing unexplained physical pain, such as headaches or stomach aches
  • Negative self-talk
  • Socially withdrawing
  • Decreased performance in school
  • Thinking or talking about suicide or self-harm

If you notice that your teen is experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to get help right away. Many treatments are available for teen depression, including counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Causes of Teen Depression

Many factors can potentially contribute to teen depression, including brain chemistry, genetics, stress, trauma, bullying, social problems, and more.

A teen experiencing the vast physical, mental, and social challenges brought on by adolescence can be the root cause of a depressed mood. There are so many shifts and stressors associated with puberty that it can be challenging for parents to know when a depression diagnosis may be suitable. Talking with a medical professional about your concerns can help you understand and realize early warning signs and the next steps.

How to Help Your Teen Overcome Depression

There are many things you can do to help your teen overcome depression. The most important thing is to provide support and understanding. Teens need to feel like they can talk to their parents about anything, even if it is something they don’t want to share.

Making yourself available and keeping a nonjudgmental avenue of communication open to your child is at the core of supporting them best.

Talk About Depression With Your Teen

Just like it’s essential to hold space for your teen to reach out to you about their concerns, starting a conversation with them can also help. If your child is experiencing symptoms of depression, they may feel an array of emotions and may be more sensitive to feeling out of place. If you frame depression as an illness that needs treatment, just like it’s important to go to the doctor for treatment when you have the flu or strep throat, it may help ease some of the fears they may be holding onto.

In this conversation, it is also important to talk about myths that may contribute to the stigmatization of mental illness. Teens say many hurtful things, and there’s a high likelihood that your child may have heard peers talking about depression or other concerns in harmful ways. Helping your child realize that many people are misinformed and not always speaking the truth can help lessen any feelings of shame or embarrassment about what’s going on internally.

Additional Tips for Helping Your Teen:
  • Encourage them to participate in activities that make them happy, such as sports, arts and music classes, or social clubs.
  • Help them set realistic goals and expectations for themselves.
  • Promote positive self-esteem by praising their accomplishments and supporting their interests.
  • Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what.
  • Seek professional help if the depression is severe or lasts for more than two weeks.
Treatment Options for Teen Depression

Treatment options for teen depression consist of medication, psychotherapy, or both. By meeting with a mental health practitioner, you can work together to determine the best plan of action to support your child’s needs. If your teen is at risk of suicide, hospitalization may be critical to their recovery.

Teen Suicide Risk

While suicide is a painful topic to address, it is vital to ensure it is not ignored. According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death in those aged 15-24. However, mental illness does not discriminate, and individuals of any age can also be at risk.

Depression and suicide are correlated, but one does not always cause the other. Like depression, it is vital to understand risk factors and warning signs of suicide in teens. Risk factors include mental health disorders, substance use, impulsivity, trauma, family history, or previous suicide attempts. Warning signs that parents should not ignore are:

  • Appearance or hygiene changes.
  • Increased substance use.
  • A sudden decrease in school performance.
  • A preoccupation with suicide or death.
  • Self-harm.
  • Reckless behavior.
  • Acquiring weapons.
  • Researching suicide.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness.

If you’re concerned about your teen’s risk of suicide, seeking attention immediately is critical. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room if you’re in an emergency. Help is available—you and your teen are not alone.  To learn more about the suicide risks with teens, click here. Suicide Risks and Teenagers (

The Bottom Line

Depression can be difficult to deal with, but with the proper support, your teen can overcome it and live a happy and healthy life. If you are concerned about your teen’s mental health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We would be happy to talk to you about our services and how we can help.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.