How to Help Your Teenager Who Is Struggling With Depression

Driving, falling in love, getting heartbroken, and securing a job– teenage life is a roller coaster of ups and downs!

On the other side of the coin, teenagers get sad and depressed; unlike adults, they don’t know how to manage their emotions. Of course, hormones wreak havoc within teenagers, but sometimes, there could be other reasons behind their rapidly fluctuating emotions.

Often, parents regard depression in teens as normal mood swings until something serious happens, like attempts of suicide.

Depression in teens is a serious mental issue that leads to a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. In some cases, symptoms of depression subside with medical treatments like counseling and medication. But, in most cases, a family’s support, love, and guidance can help them get their life on track.

So, are you heartbroken to see your once full-of-life teenager turn into an unhappy or irritable person? Well, read this guide to know how you can help them overcome depression!

Signs And Symptoms Your Teen Is Depressed

Has your teenager withdrawn from friends, and do they spend most of their time in their bedroom? If this unhappiness phase or weird behavior lasts for more than two weeks, your child is a victim of depression.

As a parent, identifying symptoms of depression isn’t easy, so here’s a quick rundown of the signs that indicate your child is suffering from major depressive disorder.

  • Trouble remembering things and making decisions or thinking and concentrating
  • Conflict with friends or families
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
  • Using alcohol or drugs to deal with depression
  • Annoyed mood or irritable
  • Feelings of sadness accompanied by crying spells
  • Need for excessive reassurance
  • Social isolation
  • Sleeping too much or staying awake due to insomnia
  • Frequent angry outbursts
  • Tiredness or loss of energy
  • Increased cravings or decreased appetite

Causes Of Teen Depression

Besides hormones, numerous social and environmental factors can contribute to depression or exacerbate its symptoms in teens, which are as follows:

  • Bullying

Be it school or social media platforms– bullying affects children’s self-esteem and traumatizes them. This, in turn, can trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness; so, if your teenager has been acting out lately, they might have been bullied by someone at school or online.

  • Inherited Traits

Perhaps, there is no internal or external factor that’s triggering depression in your child. They may have inherited this mental health problem from their blood relatives, like parents or grandparents, who may have been depressed in their lifetime.

  • Other Physical And Mental Health Conditions

Sometimes, other mental health problems like eating disorders, learning disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or self-injury may trigger depression in your teenage child.

To others, these problems may appear minor, but the struggles accompanied by them are only known to those suffering from such issues. As such, they are likely to feel helpless or less confident, which may affect their grades and socializing skills.

In another scenario, children with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities are more likely to be victims of depression.

  • Lack Of Social Support

Teens who aren’t supported by their families or friends are at risk of suffering from depression. Supposedly, your child wishes to pursue a career in teaching, but you’re more interested in making them a doctor. In such instances, there’s a lack of social support, because of which they fall into a pit of depression.

  • Past Stressful Experiences

Any teenager who has been a victim of a traumatic experience may suffer from depression even long after the event. This is usually termed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may occur due to the death of a loved one, serious accidents, etc.

How to Help Your Teenager Who is Struggling With Depression

Like physical problems, depression needs proper treatment; only then will your teenager overcome this mental disorder. Here’s what you can do to help your teenager overcome depression.

  • Talk To Them In A Non-Judgemental Way

If you believe your child is depressed, consider talking to them in a loving and non-judgemental manner. Maybe, they won’t open up to you right away, but it’s important to let them know that you’re there for them, and they can share anything they want.

  • Lecturing Teens Is A Big No-No!

When talking to them, your parental instinct may be interested in lecturing them, but that’s a big no-no! Criticizing them or passing judgemental comments will only prevent them from sharing details about their personal life or whatever is disturbing them.

  • Acknowledge Their Feelings

No matter how trivial the problem is, you must never dismiss their feelings. In fact, you must acknowledge the pain that they are going through because your support may heal them quickly.

  • Seek Help From A Mental Health Professional

Despite being their parents, you may not be able to help them overcome depression. Therefore, you must always consult a mental health professional and book teen counseling or therapy sessions for them.

As professionals, they’ve dealt with similar cases in the past and are trained to provide you with accurate information about your teens’ mental health.

Suicide Warning Signs To Watch For In Depressed Teens

Teens who are seriously depressed often think or try to end their lives by suicide. What’s alarming is that most teens are successful in their attempts, leaving behind pain and agony among their family members.

Here are some signs that your teenager is considering ending their life by suicide:

  • Searching for pills, weapons, or other harmful objects
  • Giving away their most prized possessions
  • Writing poems and stories about death
  • Joking about committing suicide
  • Engaging in rash behavior

Wrapping It Up

Finding out your teenager is suffering from depression isn’t easy for parents because children exhibit a multitude of emotions during this period.

However, if you feel your child is irritable or seems low in spirits for more than a few days, they are experiencing teenage depression. Talk to them in a compassionate way and let them know you’re by their side, no matter what.

Amid all this, don’t forget to reach out to a clinical psychologist, so they can overcome depression before it worsens. At the end of the day, remember that depression is nobody’s fault– neither theirs nor yours!

Nate Becker
the authorNate Becker