Depression in Teens


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 truly 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.

How to Help Your Teen

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.

Signs of Depression in Teens

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

  • Low self-esteem

  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation

  • Fatigue or lack of energy

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Unexplained aches and pains

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Thoughts of death or suicide (seek help immediately)

  • Poor school performance


How You Can Help

  • Trust your instincts

  • Offer unconditional support

  • Be gentle but persistent if your teenager shuts you out

  • Listen without judging or lecturing

  • Validate feelings

  • Be understanding

  • Encourage exercising

  • Encourage socializing with friends

  • Learn about depression

Getting Help

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.

Resources For Parents and Teens for Parents for Teens

Depression In Children and Teens

Stand Up to Bullying

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...

is being bullied

  • Remind them that it’s not their fault and that no one deserves to be picked on.
  • Teach kids to respond by remaining calm, letting the bully know of their disapproval and walking away.
  • Get the help of school officials to put an end to the behavior and to make sure your child is safe.
  • Monitor your child’s social media and texting to be aware of any problems.

is acting as a bully

  • Make it clear that bullying is never okay.
  • Respond decisively with consequences, such as a loss of privileges.
  • Work with school staff and the parents of the bullied child to come up with solutions.
  • Be a positive role model by treating others with respect. Often, kids who are bullied at home turn out to be bullies at school.

witnesses bullying

  • Encourage kids to tell a trusted adult if they see someone being bullied. 
  • Teach them not to laugh, encourage the bully or become an audience for the behavior.
  • Help them befriend the victim and include him or her in social activities.

For more information, go to

Last review date: January 25, 2021