Depression is a debilitating mental illness whose profound effects can lead to long-term adverse effects. Parent’s often don’t know how to help their teen cope with depression. While we can provide emotional support and try to understand the cause of our teen’s depression, we need to know when to seek professional help.
5 Ways You Can Help Your Teen with Depression
The teenage years are some of the most difficult to navigate years of your life. Teens often feel lonely and stressed out, and these negative feelings can be exacerbated significantly when dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts. Parents often feel helpless in these situations, but there are ways you can help your teen.
Not quite sure where to begin? Here are five things you can do now:
1. Recognize Teen Depression
Everybody feels down at some point, so how do you know when your child is genuinely depressed? Like most mental illnesses, depression has many symptoms, and no two teens experience it in the same way.
Teenagers face many complex challenges when going through adolescence. It can be challenging for parents to know if hormonal changes or depression influence their teen’s moods. Early recognition is critical, and early intervention can drastically improve the lives of children who have a mental illness. Parents should be on the lookout for any significant change in their child’s attitude or behavior. Common symptoms of depression can include:
- Increased social isolation
- Helplessness or hopelessness
- Declining school performance
- Self-injury or neglect, suicidal thoughts or actions
Physical manifestations can also accompany depression. These can include:
- Complaints such as stomach aches, digestive problems, or changes in appetite
- Tiredness, lack of motivation or energy
- Headaches or unexplained body aches
2. Understand What Causes Teen Depression
Depression is different for everyone, and the cause is not always discernable. However, some common causes include:
- Brain chemistry
- Traumatic events
- Family crises
- Difficulty fitting in at school
- Abuse or neglect
- Concurrent illness
- Family history
3. Know You Are Not Alone
Teen depression is more common than people think and affects 20-30% of adolescents. The CDC reports that most depression occurs in children aged 12-17. Untreated depression in teens can lead to long-term consequences or even suicide.
Despite needing help, teens may not know how to tell their parents when they are depressed. They may also feel embarrassed or believe in the untruths brought on by the negative social stigma toward mental health issues.
Parents may not know where to turn to help their teens and begin to feel isolated and helpless. Knowing that other parents and teens are also coping with depression can help them find additional support in their community.
To diagnose and prevent the severe consequences of adolescent depression, The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that all children ages 12-18 be screened for clinical depression to allow for prompt treatment if needed.
4. Open the Lines of Communication
If you suspect your teen is depressed, try opening the lines of communication and let them do the talking while you do the listening. You don’t want to come off as judging them, nor do you want to try and immediately jump in and try to solve their problems. Listening to them and keeping lines of communication open is an essential step in giving your teen the ability to express themselves constructively.
5. Know When to Get Professional Help for Teen Depression
If your teen doesn’t respond to a supportive environment and open communication, you’ll want to consider seeking professional help. Your teen can be screened for depression by a physician and referred to the appropriate specialist if needed.
Professional support can provide your family with resources to help your teen. Depression is a recognized mental health condition that medical professionals can treat through methods such as:
- Individual, Group, and Family Therapies
- Other medical treatments like Deep Brain Stimulation
Depending on the circumstances and severity of your teen’s depression, treatment may include in-patient or out-patient care and counseling.
A Taylored Solution to Your Teen’s Depression is Waiting
Discovery Day Premier Teen Treatment, located in Provo, UT, provides a campus-like environment where teens can address their depression in various clinical settings while also receiving access to academic support, art and recreational therapies, bio-feedback, and more.
Do you think your teen could benefit from this sort of treatment? Contact us today for more information.