Surviving the teenage years has never been an easy journey. In today's world, there are even more challenges than just managing school pressures, growth spurts and hormone changes. Add depression into the mix and life can be truely challenging. With the introduction of social media and smartphones, those all important face-to-face conversations are happening less and less, which can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation and ultimately to depression.
Feelings of moodiness caused by life’s ups and downs is nothing new to teens; however, depression is very different. It overwhelms every day normal activities, making it difficult to cope and enjoy life.
Parents can help their teens cope with depression by recognizing the signs, and starting a conversation with them about what they've noticed. Parents can also reach out to their teachers and doctors about their concerns. With the help of their family, teens can overcome depression and get their life back on track.
Consider how long these signs have been present, how severe they are, and if the behavior is different than usual. The more signs there are, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted, the more likely it is that depression is the cause.
Sadness or hopelessness
Irritability, anger or hostility
Tearfulness or frequent crying
Withdrawal from friends and family
Loss of interest in daily activities
Changes in eating or sleeping habits
Restlessness and agitation
Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
Fatigue or lack of energy
Unexplained aches and pains
Drug and alcohol abuse
Thoughts of death or suicide (seek help immediately)
Poor school performance
Trust your instincts
Offer unconditional support
Be gentle but persistent if your teenager shuts you out
Listen without judging or lecturing
Encourage socializing with friends
Learn about depression
The first step to getting appropriate treatment for depression is to talk to your child’s doctor, who can tell you about the different treatment options. You can also contact a behavioral health specialist directly by calling the phone number on the back of your WHA ID card. Learn more about your behavioral or mental health services.
Everyday, many kids wake up dreading or are scared to go to school. Unfortunately, kids picking or shaming another child is nothing new. In fact, many adults have at least one memory of being bullied as a child, including celebrities. Do these names ring a bell? Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise, Taylor Swift, Mia Kunis, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, just to name a few, were all bullied growing up.
What is new today, thanks in part to social media, are the many ways there are to bully someone, along with the power to hurt each other even more. Bullying can lead to anxiety, depression, skipping school, and poor grades. As we've seen too often reported in the news, it can possibly lead to suicide, or violence if a teen thinks about revenge.
Fortunately, there is help. Parents, teachers, family doctors, friends and other family members can take action. Experts recommend the following positive steps we can take to address bullying.
If your child...
For more information, go to stopbullying.gov.
Last review date: February 25, 2020