Depression is not just a bad day or a phase in a young person’s life. It is a chronic illness that requires compassion, close attention, and professional treatment. Unfortunately, depression in teens is sometimes dismissed or ignored. Many parents make the mistake of viewing their child’s symptoms as a normal part of the teenage experience. They may believe their teen will “grow out of it” over time. It is important to note, however, that depression does not go away by itself if left untreated. It can also greatly impact a teen’s overall quality of life. According to a recent study from Mental Health America (MHA), over 2.5 million young people in the U.S. suffer from severe depression. The rates of substance use in youth are also steadily increasing.
You may be wondering what you can do if the young person in your life is struggling. First and foremost, it’s crucial to be informed. While depression in teens can be crippling, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few essential things you should know.
Depression in Teens: What You Should Know
Teenagers Are Often Suffering from Two Mental Illnesses at the Same Time
According to the CDC, having another mental disorder is most common in children with depression. 3 in 4 children aged 3-17, for instance, also experience anxiety 73% of the time. As your child may need treatment for multiple conditions, it’s important to pay close attention to all of their symptoms. However, this statistic is also valuable in another way. Depression in teens can be incredibly isolating and solitary, and it’s much scarier when combined with other illnesses. Letting your child know they aren’t alone may bring them some comfort. Additionally, this can help them feel less peculiar, so they are more comfortable opening up and confiding in someone.
Girls, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Youth are More Likely to Experience Depression
Any young person can experience depression. However, it’s a known fact that certain individuals are more at-risk than others. Being a teenager is a complicated and stressful experience on its own, but some teens have additional struggles to contend with. Young girls exposed to social media, for example, may feel that their appearance isn’t up to these false, impossible-to-reach standards. A teen struggling with their sexual or gender identity might be struggling to feel accepted in their conservative household. Multiracial individuals, who are at the highest risk for depression in teens, may be forced to confront racism and bigotry on a daily basis. If the young person in your life is at a higher risk for depression, check in with them often. Make sure they know they have someone they can confide in, someone who will support them no matter what.
Few Teens Receive Treatment for Depression
Only 1 in 3 youth with severe depression receive regular mental health care. This means that many teens don’t feel comfortable sharing their struggles with others or discussing their depression. It also means that they don’t have access to the care and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding mental illness, and teens may be afraid to speak out. Perhaps they’ve tried, but the individual they spoke with was not receptive or the resources simply weren’t there. This is why it’s so crucial for parents, guardians, and youth mentors to communicate with the young people closest to them. To receive treatment, teens have to feel comfortable enough to ask for help. Having one supportive person who can assist a teen in finding treatment makes all the difference in the world.
Partner with Lead4Life, Inc. Today to Learn More about Depression in Teens
At Lead4Life, we strive to empower every participant in our programs so that they may find their purpose, achieve their goals, and become poised, productive members of their community. We advocate for those in need and assist each and every individual by providing compassionate education and valuable resources like mental health tips so that they can make the very best decisions and develop important life, social, and competency skills. Visit our website for more information about depression in teens or contact us at 240-499-8949.