Pay attention to your teenagers and/or your teenage friends. Depression in teenagers is much more prevalent than people think, and once recognized can be treated much like depression in adults.
Approximately 4 out of every 100 teenagers experience a period of serious depression each year, and because teenagers have the reputation for being moody and hormonal -friends and family can be confused about when a teenager is depressed or is just "being a teenager".
What does a depressed teen look like?
Having the blues is usually very temporary and does not dramatically affect other areas of your life. But if you notice a teenager close to you suffering from failing grades, strained relationships with friends and family, drinking heavily, doing drugs or being really promiscuious - he or she may be suffering from depression.
If you know a teen who seems a little sad and has a parent that suffers from clinical depression - then that teen may be very susceptible to a bout of depression.
If you know a teen who has threatened to kill him or herself, has made suicide attempts in the past, is giving away possessions, seems uninterested in the future, has an unusual obsession with death, appears to be withdrawing from everyone, cries a lot -- this is a teen probably suffering from depression and headed toward a suicide attempt.
What should I do about it?
It is important to:
1. Do something. This will not just go away or be handled by someone else. If you see the signs, then you must feel obligated to help your friend or family member.
2. Don't do it alone. You need to seek the help of a mental health professional. If you are the parent, ask for a referral from you primary physician. If you are a friend, reach out to the primary adults in this teen's life - mother, father, favorite teachers, school counselor, etc. This is a very important step.
3. Stay connected. One of the best things you can do for someone depressed is to stay plugged in to them. Be their friend. A listening ear. A silent partner. Someone that is steady and for them whether they are crying or distant or raging mad. Don't abandon them.
1. Free Depression Screening
2. Hotline Number: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1. Symptoms of Depression
2. Is It Depression or Sadness?
Lisa Angelettie is an author, counselor, & coach on mental health, relationship, and other life issues for women. You can also visit her at http://www.girlshrink.com Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful depression resources. Subscribe below.