Mental Health Month may be over, but it’s still worth shining a spotlight on teen depression, because it effects people year round. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, recent surveys demonstrate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression. At this rate, teen depression has become a critical issue that calls for immediate attention and action. There are many different forms of depression, which include major depression, dysthymia, psychosis, situational depression, and bipolar disorder, a condition that alternates between periods of high spirits and then drops to a low or melancholy state of mind.
Depression can sometimes be tough to diagnose in teens because it is frequently normal for teens to act moody or upset. Adolescence is often a time when teens don’t know how to explain how they are feeling or what they are going through. It can be difficult to determine if they experiencing normal feelings of adolescence or actually displaying symptoms of depression.
Mental Health America (MHA) states that it is not unusual for teens to experience “the blues” or feel “down in the dumps” occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life.
According to the Mayo Clinic there are some common emotional changes that could be possible symptoms of teen depression
- Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Irritable or annoyed mood
- Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
When depressed teens realize that they need help with depression, this can be a major step in the direction of recovery. However, MHA notes that very few teens seek help on their own accord. Teens will need support and encouragement from family and friends to seek out help and follow treatment recommendations. Listed below are a number of resources to facilitate getting more information about teens and depression.
American Psychiatric Association – Healthy Minds
Mental Health America (MHA)
Here is a list of teen realistic fiction books that focus on teens suffering from depression or mental illness and how this affects their lives and the lives of others.