It might not be the most obvious thing as we watch our children go through their teenage years. Teenage depression can be the last thing on our mind as we look to support our kids through puberty, school exams, university and heading out into the wider world. But teenage depression is affecting millions. Here are some of the statistics linked to teenage depression –
- It affects around 20% of teens before they become an adult
- It multiplies the likelihood of a suicide attempt by twelve times
- Up to 30% of teenage depression sufferers develop a substance abuse problem
- Those with teenage depression can struggle with exams, careers, and relationships
So, let’s take a look at what we do here. This is our guide to teenage depression – what to look for and how to help.
What Are the Signs of Depression in Teen?
I’m sure the first thing you want to know is whether your child might be at risk of teenage depression in their life. Some of the following might be worrying for you to read, but be assured that you are checking for the right reasons and you can get them to help if you are concerned. So, let’s consider what to look for when assessing for teenage depression –
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or burns, particularly on their wrists, arms, thighs or chest
- Constant low mood or sadness, often accompanied by regular tearful incidents
- Talking as though everything is hopeless in life or that they are beyond help
- Irritation or intolerance of others, especially those that they were friends with before
- Losing all interest in pastimes or hobbies for a long period of time
- Problems going to sleep and disturbed sleep during the night
- Being socially isolated and not connected to their peers
This isn’t an exhaustive list because every child is different. If you are concerned about teenage depression then keep a lookout for these symptoms. They may lead you on the path to looking for some help. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you can do.
Teenage Depression – How Can I Help?
I’m sure you are already aware of how sensitive your teen is to asking for or receiving help. With this in mind, teenage depression can be a tricky situation to deal with. But don’t worry, there are things that you can do. Let’s take a look at how you can help your teen if you suspect they might be in need of it –
- Open lines of communication are essential. Keep talking to your teen every day so you can establish how they feel and so they know they always have you to talk to.
- Encourage other important people in their life to do the same. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins are all good people to have open conversations with. Using mobile phones makes this easier.
- Therapy such as CBT or counseling has been stigmatized in the past but there is no need for that to happen. Quality therapy can have a profound effect on your teen.
- Medication is always an option but should be really seen as a last resort in this situation. You can discuss teenage depression and medication with your GP if you feel this needs to be explored.
As you can see, there are ways in which you can help your teen if you think they need a little support. This is a time of transition and the pressures on them will be far greater than they were when we were sat the same age. The internet and social media in particular have changed the game for peer pressure. Always be there as a shoulder to lean on and an ear to talk to. This will help counter teenage depression more than you know.