Teen Depression


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Oregon Trends - 10/22/20
Parent's Guide to Teen Depression

Teen Depression - Boys
Teen Depression - Girls

Teen Depression in America – Troubling Statistics & Trends
Teen Depression: Causes, Symptoms, Heredity, and Treatments
Overview - Mayo Cllinic
Teen Depression - NIH 
Unexpected Symptoms of Teen Depression
Tips for Parents Who Want to Talk to Children About Depression
10 Ways to Help When Your Child is Depressed
Facts and Warning Signs for Suicidal Thoughts in Children
Study Shows 900,000 Teens Planned Suicides While Depressed
All teens need to be screened for depression, American pediatricians urge
Who Young People Turn to for Help
The Alarming Consequences of Untreated Depression in Children
How Parents Can Talk to Teens About Depression
How Does Depression Affect Teen Life?
Parent's Guide to Teen Depression
Regular Sadness vs. Depression - Teen Health
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Teen Depression in America: Troubling Statistics and Facts

What is frequently written off as normal teenage angst may really be teen depression, and if left untreated could lead to more serious conditions with antisocial behaviors. Diagnosing depression in teens is complicated by the physical changes in this stage of development, yet there are warning signs and options for help. Below you will find a long list of eye-opening teen depression statistics covering prevalence, symptoms, warning signs of teen depression, treatment options, recovery rates and more.

Teen Depression Statistics

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for the 12-18 age demographic
  • 14% of teens suffered at least one episode of depression within the last 12 months
  • 20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood
  • 10-15% of teens have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time
  • 80% of teens don’t receive help for their depression
  • Female teens are twice as likely to have symptoms of depression, as male teens of the same age.

Most Common Types of Teen Depression

1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Someone with MDD will experience episodes of intense depression (lasting weeks to years), separated by periods of relatively stable moods. MDD can make it difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends or activities.

2.Dysthymic Disorder Teens with Dysthymia experience depressive episodes that are less intense than in MDD but are long-lasting—at least one year or longer.

3. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes ranging from extreme emotional highs to extreme lows—major depression to mania with high energy. This is a serious condition that can cause sleeplessness, hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose delusions, or paranoid rage. Bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component and can run in families.

4. Adjustment Disorder Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that people find themselves in when they struggle coping with, or adjusting to, a particular source of stress such as, divorce or death of a loved one.

Causes of Teen Depression

Depression in teens can stem from a variety of reasons:

  • Academic stress
  • Peer pressure
  • Romantic problems
  • Traumatic events
  • Divorcing parents
  • Genetic factors
  • Family financial struggles
  • Physical/emotional neglect

Source: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml#part2)

Parent's Guide to Teen Depression

Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. With all this turmoil and uncertainty, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression and normal teenage growing pains. But teen depression goes beyond moodiness. It’s a serious health problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Fortunately, it’s treatable and parents can help. Your support can go a long way toward getting your teenager back on track.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression in teens?

Unlike adults, who have the ability to seek assistance on their own, teenagers rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the help they need. So if you have an adolescent in your life, it’s important to learn what teen depression looks like and what to do if you spot the warning signs.

While it might seem that recognizing depression is easy, the signs aren’t always obvious. For one, teens with depression don’t necessarily appear sad. Irritability, anger, and agitation may be the most prominent symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of depression in teens

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Poor school performance
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • .Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Is it depression or teenage “growing pains”?

A certain amount of moodiness and acting out is par for the course with teens. But persistent changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem. If you’re unsure if your child is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, and how different your child is acting from his or her usual self. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of teenage angst—but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness lethargy, or irritability.

Suicide warning signs in teenagers

Seriously depressed teens often think about, speak of, or make "attention-getting" attempts at suicide. But an alarming and increasing number of teenage suicide attempts are successful, so suicidal thoughts or behaviors should always be taken very seriously.

For the overwhelming majority of suicidal teens, depression or another psychological disorder plays a primary role. In depressed teens who also abuse alcohol or drugs, the risk of suicide is even greater. Because of the very real danger of suicide, teenagers who are depressed should be watched closely for any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Suicide warning signs to watch for

  • Talking or joking about committing suicide
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out.”
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying (“If I died, people might love me more”)
  • Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide
  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for the last time
  • Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves
Get help for a suicidal teen

If you suspect that a teenager you know is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or Text SOS at 741741.

Don’t ignore the problem

Depression is very damaging when left untreated, so don’t wait and hope that worrisome symptoms will go away. If you suspect that your child is depressed, bring up your concerns in a loving, non-judgmental way. Even if you’re unsure that depression is the issue, the troublesome behaviors and emotions you’re seeing are signs of a problem that should be addressed.

Open up a dialogue by letting your teen know what specific signs of depression you’ve noticed and why they worry you. Then ask your child to share what he or she is going through—and be ready and willing to truly listen. Hold back from asking a lot of questions (teenagers don’t like to feel patronized or crowded), but make it clear that you’re ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.

Tips for communicating with a depressed teen

Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. You’ll do the most good by simply letting your teen know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally.

Be gentle but persistent. Don’t give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Even if they want to, they may have a hard time expressing what they’re feeling. Be respectful of your child’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.

Acknowledge their feelings. Don’t try to talk your teen out of depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why “things aren’t that bad” will just come across as if you don’t take their emotions seriously. To make them feel understood and supported, simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported.

Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen won’t open up to you, consider turning to a trusted third party: a school counselor, favorite teacher, or mental health professional. The important thing is to get them talking to someone.

Encourage social connection

Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect.

Make face time a priority. Set aside time each day to talk—time when you’re focused totally on your teen (no distractions or multi-tasking). The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in reducing your teen’s depression.

Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others. Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids.

Get your teen involved. Suggest activities—such as sports, after-school clubs, or an art, dance, or music class—that take advantage of your teen’s interests and talents. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm.

Promote volunteerism. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and self-esteem booster. Help your teen find a cause they’re interested in and that gives them a sense of purpose. If you volunteer with them, it can also be a good bonding experience.

Make physical health a priority

Physical and mental health are inextricably connected. Depression is exacerbated by inactivity, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teens are known for their unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating junk food, and spending hours up hours on their phones and devices. But as a parent, you can combat these behaviors by establishing a healthy, supportive home environment.

Get your teen moving! Exercise is absolutely essential to mental health, so get your teen active—whatever it takes. Ideally, teens should be getting at least an hour of physical activity a day, but it needn’t be boring or miserable. Think outside the box: walking the dog, dancing, shooting hoops, going for a hike, riding bikes, skateboarding—as long as they’re moving, it’s beneficial.

Set limits on screen time. Teens often go online to escape their problems, but excessive computer use only increases their isolation, making them more depressed. When screen time goes up, physical activity and face time with friends goes down. Both are a recipe for worsening symptoms.

Provide nutritious, balanced meals. Make sure your teen is getting the nutrition they need for optimum brain health and mood support: things like healthy fats, quality protein, and fresh produce. Eating a lot of sugary, starchy foods—the quick “pick me up” of many depressed teens—is not going to make the body or brain happy.

Encourage plenty of sleep. Teens need more sleep than adults to function optimally—up to 9-10 hours per night. Make sure your teen isn’t staying up until all hours at the expense of much-need, mood-supporting rest.

Know when to seek professional help

Support and healthy lifestyle changes can make a world of difference for depressed teens, but it’s not always enough. When depression is severe, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. A mental health professional with advanced training and a strong background treating teens is the best bet for your child’s care.

Involve your child in treatment choices

When choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options, always get your teen’s input. If you want your teen to be motivated and engaged in their treatment, don’t ignore their preferences or make unilateral decisions. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or is just not ’connecting’ with the psychologist or psychiatrist, seek out a better fit.

Explore your options

Expect a discussion with the specialist you’ve chosen about depression treatment options for your son or daughter. Talk therapy is often a good initial treatment for mild to moderate cases of depression. Over the course of therapy, your teen’s depression may resolve. If it doesn’t, medication may be warranted.

Unfortunately, some parents feel pushed into choosing antidepressant medication over other treatments that may be cost-prohibitive or time-intensive. However, unless your child is acting out dangerously or at risk for suicide (in which case medication and/or constant observation may be necessary), you have time to carefully weigh your options before committing to any one treatment. In all cases, antidepressants are most effective when part of a broader treatment plan.

Medication comes with risks

Antidepressants were designed and tested on adults, so their impact on young, developing brains is not yet understood. Some researchers are concerned that exposure to drugs such as Prozac may interfere with normal brain development—particularly the way the brain manages stress and regulates emotion.

Antidepressants also come with risks and side effects of their own, including a number of safety concerns specific to children and young adults. They are also known to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in some teenagers and young adults. Teens with bipolar disorder, a family history of bipolar disorder, or a history of previous suicide attempts are particularly vulnerable.

The risk of suicide is highest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment. Teenagers on antidepressants should be closely monitored for any sign that the depression is getting worse.

Teens on antidepressants: Red flags to watch out for

Call a doctor if you notice…

  • New or more thoughts of suicide
  • Suicidal gestures or attempts
  • New or worse depression
  • New or worse anxiety
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • New or worse irritability
  • Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Hyperactive speech or behavior (mania)
  • Other unusual changes in behavior

Take care of yourself (and the rest of the family)

As a parent dealing with teen depression, you may find yourself focusing all your energy and attention on your depressed child. Meanwhile, you may be neglecting your own needs and the needs of other family members. However, it’s extremely important that you continue to take care of yourself during this difficult time.

Above all, this means reaching out for much needed support. You can’t do everything on your own. Trying is only a recipe for burnout. As the saying goes: “It takes a village.” Enlist the help of family and friends. Having your own support system in place will help you stay healthy and positive as you work to help your teen.

Don’t bottle up your emotions. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, or angry. Reach out to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist of your own. Talking about how you’re feeling will help defuse the intensity.

Look after your health. The stress of your teen’s depression can affect your own moods and emotions, so support your health and well-being by eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for things you enjoy.

Be open with the family. Don’t tiptoe around the issue of teen depression in an attempt to “protect” the other children. Kids know when something is wrong. When left in the dark, their imaginations will often jump to far worse conclusions. Be open about what is going on and invite your children to ask questions and share their feelings.

Remember the siblings. Depression in one child can cause stress or anxiety in other family members, so make sure “healthy” children are not ignored. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation.

Avoid the blame game. It can be easy to blame yourself or another family member for your teen’s depression, but it only adds to an already stressful situation. Furthermore, depression is normally caused by a number of factors, so it’s unlikely—except in the case of abuse or neglect—that any loved one is “responsible.”

Related HelpGuide articles

Resources and references

General information about teen depression

Depression – Breaks down the different types of depression in teenagers, as well as the symptoms and remedies. (TeensHealth)

Depression in Boys – While teen depression is more prevalent in girls, teenage boys have their own special risk factors and warning signs. This article delves deeper into male teen depression. (Psychology Today)

Depression in Girls – With society and hormonal changes wreaking havoc, girls need extra care in the teen years. Learn what parents can do. (Psychology Today)

Teen depression and suicide

About Teen Suicide – Discusses teen suicide statistics, risk factors, warnings signs, and how to get help. Also find coping tips for those who have lost a child to suicide. (TeensHealth)

Teen Suicide: What Parents Need to Know – Learn about the risk factors, warning signs, and the steps you can take to protect your teen from suicide. (MayoClinic)

Teenage depression and violence

Warning Signs of Youth Violence – Learn why some teenagers turn violent, what the warning signs are, and who is at risk. (American Psychological Association)

Depression and Violence in Teens – Explores the problem of teen violence, the possible link to depression, and what parents can do about it. (HealthDay)

Treatment for teen depression

Treatment of Children with Mental Illness – Answers to frequently asked questions about the treatment of mental disorders in children, including depression. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder – Series of articles on when to seek help for your child and where to find it. (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)

Antidepressants for teens

Antidepressant Medications for Children and Adolescents: Information for Parents and Caregivers – Fact sheet from the federal government on medication for children and teens. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Source: www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/teen-depression-signs-help.htm

How Does Depression Affect Teen Life?

Depression can lead to other problems as well.

  • 30% of teens suffering from depression also develop substance abuse problems
  • 15% of teens suffering with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder
  • Up to 10% of teens have conduct disorder as a result of depression

Conduct disorder is a range of antisocial behaviors towards others.

  • 6%-10% of boys
  • 2%-9% of girls

Conduct disorder can lead to:

  • Aggression with people and animals
  • Destruction of property
  • Deceitfulness or theft
  • Serious violations of rules

Depression can also cause teens to:

  • Create family conflicts
  • Have problems at school
  • Run away
  • Become violent
  • Participate in reckless behavior
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Develop internet addictions
  • Become suicidal

If Left Untreated, Depression Can Evolve into Other Serious Conditions

Ignoring depression can be dangerous. Unfortunately, 80 percent of teens don’t seek help for their depression. Depression can turn into a more serious condition for your teenager if left untreated.

  • 20% with major depressive disorder (MDD) develop psychotic symptoms
  • 15% of teens with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder
  • 66% of teens with major depression also suffer from another mental disorder, such as persistent mild depression, addiction to drugs or alcohol, anxiety, or antisocial behaviors

Teenage Depression and Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24.

  • The rate of suicide in America has tripled over the last 60 years
  • About 19% of young people contemplate or attempt suicide each year
  • 14%-24% of young and young adults have self-injured at least once
  • More teens die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined
  • 5,400 estimated suicide attempts are made each day by teens in the United States

Signs of Teen Depression

Four out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs as to their intentions.

Common warning signs of depression are:

  • Sadness that lasts most of the day
  • Crankiness and irritability
  • Inability to have fun doing things that used to be fun
  • Acting younger than their age
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping through the night
  • Changes in appetite
  • Drop in grades
  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low self-esteem

teen depression major red flags

Tips for Talking with Teens

Communicate with your teenager to understand what is going on in their life. Let them know you are there for them no matter what. It’s okay if you need some guidance talking to your teen. After all, teenagers don’t come with instructions. Here are a few tips for successful communication with your teenager:

  • Offer genuine support
  • Be gentle but persistent with requests
  • Listen without lecturing
  • Validate their feelings
  • Find a depression specialist
  • Stay involved in treatment
  • Provide appropriate medication
  • Encourage physical activity and a balanced diet
  • List to and support your teen
  • Educate your teen on the risks or drug and alcohol abuse
  • Educate yourself about depression

Options for Help

Only 1 in 5 depressed teens receive help. There are many options available for teens facing mental health issues. Rawhide Boys Ranch is one of them.

Residential Treatment Success

Residential treatment has been very successful for individuals battling depression.

  • 80% of adolescents with depression improve during residential treatment
  • 72%-97% of parents reported a reduction in internalizing problems from admission to discharge after residential treatment

Don’t let depression affect your teenager. Open a healthy line of communication with your teenager and find out the problems they are facing and what is going on in their life. If your teenager is struggling with depression, there is help. Your teenager does not have to battle depression on their own.

Related content from Rawhide's site

Teen Anger & Aggression – Causes & Treatment [INFOGRAPHIC]
Selfie Obsession: The Rise of Social Media Narcissism [INFOGRAPHIC]
ACEs and Child Trauma Leave Lasting Scars [INFOGRAPHIC]
Teen Cyberbullying and Social Media Use on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]
Too Much Screen for Your Teen? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Armed Forces Suicide Rate Skyrockets [INFOGRAPHIC]
Source: www.rawhide.org/blog/wellness/teen-depression-in-america-troubling-statistics-trends/

Tips for Parents Who Want to Talk to Children About Depression

Why it's important to be honest during the discussion

If you decide to talk about depression with your child, you may be concerned about saying the "right" thing. However, just having an open and honest discussion with your child can provide her with much-needed support. With a few tips, concerned parents and caregivers can confidently talk about depression with their children.

Keep the Talk Age Appropriate

You want to make sure that your child understands what you are saying and is not confused or bored by the discussion.

Make sure that you are using words that your child can understand. Words such as "depression" or "emotional reaction" are probably too complex for a younger child but may be appropriate for an older child or adolescent. Try comparing her depression to something that your child is already familiar with --- like another illness that your child has had experience with (e.g., flu, ear infection, etc.)

Keep the Conversation Positive

Keeping your depression discussion positive does not mean that you should sugar-coat it. Depression is a serious illness that causes emotional and physical pain, and it can have serious consequences. However, if you maintain a positive and hopeful outlook in your discussions, you will avoid unnecessarily alarming your child.

Be Honest

In talking about depression, do not make promises you cannot keep or go into detail about topics that you are not certain of. Instead, tell your child what you do know, and make a list of questions to discuss with your child's mental health professional.

Be Compassionate

Your child needs to know that you recognize and respect his feelings. Even if you do not quite understand his thoughts, avoid quipping, "What do you have to be depressed about?" or "Don't be ridiculous." Comments like these just cause a child to keep his feelings to himself or become defensive.

Be a Good Listener

Allow your child to talk openly and express his opinions and thoughts. Avoid interrupting, judging or punishing him for his feelings. Knowing that he has someone he can confide in help to sort out his feelings.

While talking to your child about his depression can be a very important part of his recovery, it does not replace the need for professional treatment. If your child is depressed or you suspect depression, consult with his pediatrician or other mental health professionals for accurate diagnosis and treatment.


Feelings Need Check Ups Too. American Academy of Pediatrics.

Communicating With Your Child. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Components-of-Good-Communication.aspx

Stress in America: Talking With Your Children About Stress. American Psychological Association

Unexpected Symptoms of Teen Depression

Depression in teens deeply affects those who suffer from it, but the symptoms are often notably different from depression in adults. Here's what you need to know about how depression shows up in teens.

What does depression in teens look like?

Adults expect teen depression to show up as a pervasive sense of sadness and withdrawal, and sometimes it does.

But what most adults don't know is that in teens, depression is more likely to show up as angry or irritable behavior.

A teen who is yelling at others, grumpy, easily frustrated, defiant or quick to snap at a parents' benign comments may in fact be suffering from depression.

In addition to anger and irritability, teens suffering from depression may also exhibit the following symptoms:

1. Health problems such as a chronic headache or stomachache.

Unexplained health problems are often a sign of depression in teens, who are likely to experience sadness as a physical sensation. Other complaints include feeling dizzy or nauseated. If your teen has such complaints, have them initially checked out by an MD. In cases where no physical illness is detected, depression may be the reason for these symptoms.

2. A change in social interactions or patterns.

Depressed adults tend to withdraw from others, but this is less likely to happen with teens, who build their lives around interactions with peers.

Sudden or significant changes in a teen's participation with others can signal depression. This can include changing friends, spending less time in activities with peers or being alone more often.

3. Very low self-esteem.

Depressed teens are likely to react badly to any negative event, perceiving failure or apparent criticism of them.

A seemingly small failure may be perceived as substantial and reinforce their sense of negativity and poor self-worth. A benign comment may be blown out of proportion by the teen.

Teen depression can manifest in many different ways and therefore the presence of depression should always be considered as part of the assessment and treatment of a teen who is exhibiting troubling behaviors.

Quick Link: Parent's Guide to Teen Depression | Quiz: Could Your Teen Be Depressed?
Source: www.verywell.com/unexpected-symptoms-of-teen-depression-2609496?utm_term=depression+symptoms+for+teenagers&utm_content=p1-main-1-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=msn_s&utm_campaign=adid-569c2ee1-d855-499a-84b9-a03ccfb7615a-0-ab_msb_ocode-34460&ad=semD&an=msn_s&am=broad&q=depression+symptoms+for+teenagers&o=34460&qsrc=999&l=sem&askid=569c2ee1-d855-499a-84b9-a03ccfb7615a-0-ab_msb

Facts and Warning Signs for Suicidal Thoughts in Children


Knowing youth suicide facts is especially important for parents of children with depression. For parents, suicidal thoughts and behaviors are one of the most alarming concerns of childhood depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), death by suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 10- to 14-year-olds, and many more children attempt but do not complete suicide.

At What Age Can Suicidal Thoughts Happen?

According to the CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQRS), there were no deaths by suicide in the United States among children under age 5 between 2000 and 2007.

However, rates of suicide deaths increased 0.02% for 5- to 9-year-olds, and 1.22% for 10- to 14-year-olds in that same time period.

Typically, rates of suicide increase with age, peaking in late adolescence. Girls more often attempt suicide, but boys more frequently follow through to completion.

Suicidal Thoughts and Depression

According to Dr. David C.R. Kerr, who published a study of youth suicide in The Journal of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior in 2008, suicidal thoughts are linked to a worse course of depression, the symptoms of which include earlier onset, longer duration and shorter intervals of remission.

It is important to know that not all depressed children will have suicidal thoughts or behavior. In fact, it is one of the least common symptoms of childhood depression. Also, not all children with suicidal thoughts and behavior are depressed.

Perhaps most comforting to know, not all children who have suicidal thoughts will attempt suicide.

However, it is a good predictor for future attempts, and these children always need to be evaluated by a professional.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Some important warning signs of suicidal behavior in children are:

  • Reckless behavior
  • Frequent statements of self-harm
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Expressions of hopelessness about the future

Risk Factors

Some risk factors that may contribute to a child's risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior include:

  • A family history of suicide, depression or other mental illness
  • Loss of a close family member, friend or classmate by suicide or other sudden death
  • Threats or violence from peers
  • Previous history of depression or other mental health illness
  • Previous suicide attempts

How to Help Your Child

Be aware. While rare in young children, suicide is possible. Know the warning signs and risk factors that may increase your child's risk of suicide.

Talk to your child. Talking about suicide will not give your child the idea to attempt suicide. If a friend or other loved one has died, committed suicide or is extremely ill, talk to your child about it and address her feelings.

Tell others. If your child exhibits suicidal thoughts or behaviors, tell your child's other caretakers and faculty members at her school so they can closely monitor your child when you are not around.

Keep weapons locked up. Common sense tells you to keep weapons, medications, alcohol and poisons safely away from children, but this is especially important for children at risk for suicide.

Get your child treatment. If your child is depressed, at high risk for depression or other mental illness, it is essential to get her treatment.

When to Get Immediate Help

It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your child's well-being. If you think that your child is in crisis and has had a previous suicide attempt, is threatening to harm herself, or you just have a "gut feeling," get your child help immediately. Do not wait. If needed, take your child to a pediatric emergency room.

Having a child who is depressed or is suicidal does not make you a bad parent or mean that you did anything to cause her pain. The best thing you can do is to get your child help and support her in her recovery.

*If your child or someone else you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


David C. R. Kerr, Ph.D., Lee D. Owen, B.S., Katherine C. Pears, Ph.D., and Deborah M. Capaldi, Ph.D. Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation Among Boys and Men Assessed Annually from Ages 9 to 29 Years. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. August 2008 38(4): 390-401.

Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics (WISQARS). Centers for Disease Control.

Knowing The Warning Signs. American Association of Suicidology.

Suicide Prevention for Children. American Academy of Pediatrics: HealthyChildren.org.

Suicide Prevention: Youth Suicide. Centers for Disease Control.
Source: www.verywell.com/youth-suicide-facts-1066787

Tips for Parents Who Want to Talk to Children About Depression

Why it's important to be honest during the discussion

If you decide to talk about depression with your child, you may be concerned about saying the "right" thing. However, just having an open and honest discussion with your child can provide her with much-needed support. With a few tips, concerned parents and caregivers can confidently talk about depression with their children.

Keep the Talk Age Appropriate

You want to make sure that your child understands what you are saying and is not confused or bored by the discussion.

Make sure that you are using words that your child can understand. Words such as "depression" or "emotional reaction" are probably too complex for a younger child but may be appropriate for an older child or adolescent. Try comparing her depression to something that your child is already familiar with --- like another illness that your child has had experience with (e.g., flu, ear infection, etc.)

Keep the Conversation Positive

Keeping your depression discussion positive does not mean that you should sugar-coat it. Depression is a serious illness that causes emotional and physical pain, and it can have serious consequences. However, if you maintain a positive and hopeful outlook in your discussions, you will avoid unnecessarily alarming your child.

Be Honest

In talking about depression, do not make promises you cannot keep or go into detail about topics that you are not certain of. Instead, tell your child what you do know, and make a list of questions to discuss with your child's mental health professional.

Be Compassionate

Your child needs to know that you recognize and respect his feelings. Even if you do not quite understand his thoughts, avoid quipping, "What do you have to be depressed about?" or "Don't be ridiculous." Comments like these just cause a child to keep his feelings to himself or become defensive.

Be a Good Listener

Allow your child to talk openly and express his opinions and thoughts. Avoid interrupting, judging or punishing him for his feelings. Knowing that he has someone he can confide in help to sort out his feelings.

While talking to your child about his depression can be a very important part of his recovery, it does not replace the need for professional treatment. If your child is depressed or you suspect depression, consult with his pediatrician or other mental health professionals for accurate diagnosis and treatment.


Feelings Need Check Ups Too. American Academy of Pediatrics.

Communicating With Your Child. American Academy of Pediatrics.

Stress in America: Talking With Your Children About Stress. American Psychological Association
Source: www.verywell.com/how-to-talk-about-depression-with-children-1066652

How Parents Can Talk to Teens About Depression

Explaining depression and discussing treatment options help

When talking with your teen about depression, you will want to consider where she is developmentally and what is currently important to her.

An older child or adolescent naturally begins to pull away from her family and identify with her peers. She is striving to find her identity and working to establish independence from her parents. So, when having a conversation about depression, you will want to address these factors.

Some research has shown that children of parents who take an active role in their child's treatment are more likely to comply with treatment, which increases the likelihood of remission.

Explaining Depression to Your Teen

Comparing depression to another medical illness that your child is familiar with may allow her to understand depression as an illness, her symptoms, the importance of treatment and avoid feeling abnormal. Older children and adolescents are especially sensitive to feeling different or out of place.

For Example: "Depression is a special kind of illness called a mental illness. It is similar to other illnesses like the flu in the way that it can make you feel tired or have a headache. Depression also affects your mood and feelings. It can make you feel sad, lonely, frustrated, angry or scared. What questions do you have about depression?"

Talking About Treatment With Your Teen

Your teenager is more likely to comply with treatment if she understands what it is for, knows what to expect and can have a say in it.

Of course, it is not always practical to allow your child to plan her own treatment, but if you can allow her to even make a small decision (like setting up her next appointment), it may make a big difference in allowing her to feel in control.

For Example: "You will need to take medicine every day and go to therapy once a week so you feel better. In therapy, you will talk to Dr. Smith privately about your feelings and activities, and ask questions. At first, you may have some side effects from the medicine, like feeling extra tired or dizzy, but it should go away soon. That is why you will see the doctor once a month. He will ask about how the medicine is making you feel and will make sure that it is helping you. What do you think of this treatment plan so far?"

Encouraging Supportive Relationships

Even though older children identify more with their peers, depression can cause a child to withdraw from everyone. Having supportive relationships is important for everyone, but it may be especially important for depressed children who already feel lonely or isolated. Having just one friend or supportive adult to talk to can provide a huge benefit to your child. Declare your support and availability to your child, and encourage her to connect or re-connect with friends and share her feelings.

For Example: "I am always here to talk to you about anything. You may want to think about talking to some of your friends about your feelings too. Having supportive and encouraging people to lean on is important. Talking about your feelings can make a difficult time a little bit easier. Which of your friends do you think you might be able to talk to?"

Addressing Myths

Older children may be familiar with the social stigma of mental illness or have heard others say derogatory things about the mentally ill. You may want to address this with your child so that she does not feel like she has to hide or be ashamed of her depression diagnosis.

For Example: "You may have heard people say hurtful or inaccurate things about people with mental illness or depression. Occasionally, when people don't know about things, they will say something hurtful or make incorrect judgments. You should not feel embarrassed or like you have to hide it, but you should make the decision to tell others about depression if and when you want to."

It is mistakenly thought that talking about suicide may plant ideas in a child. In fact, addressing the topic can help her to know what to do if she has suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Remember, though, it is important that you seek urgent medical care if your child is having suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

For Example: "If you are ever feeling like you want to hurt yourself or like you don't want to live, please tell me, or call your doctor immediately. Sometimes feelings can be overwhelming, and you feel like it might never get better. Suicide is permanent and feelings are not. We can help you to work through your feelings. Are you currently having any feelings of wanting to hurt yourself?"

It is hard not to worry about saying the "right" thing to your child about her depression -- but just letting her know that you love and support her speaks volumes.


Communicating With Your Child. American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed: 10/05/2010

Feelings Need Check Ups Too. American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed: June 15, 2010.

Willansky-Traynor, P. Manassis, K., Monga, S. et al. "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depressed Youth: Predictors of Attendance in a Pilot Study." Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry May 2, 2010, 19.

Stress in America: Talking With Your Children About Stress. American Psychological Association: Accessed: 10/04/2010.

Suicide Prevention: Youth Suicide. Centers for Disease Control. Accessed: August 14, 2010.
Source: www.verywell.com/talking-to-your-teen-about-depression-1066653

10 Ways to Help When Your Child is Depressed

Being a parent is rewarding, but tough. One of the hardest things to deal with is your child’s pain. If your child is depressed, you probably are scared and feel helpless. There are some ways in which you can help your child, though.

1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease.

Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything thoughtless like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

2. Don’t freak out.

This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression.

3. Do your homework.

Read up about depression – symptoms, causes and treatment. The more you know, especially about treatment options, the more effectively you can advocate for your child in the health care system and at school.

4. Let your child know that it’s okay to be depressed.

Children tend to hide things from parents that they think will upset them. Make it clear to your child that nothing they could say is as upsetting to you as being unable to help them because they’re afraid to hurt you.

5. Talk to your child frequently.

This sounds like a tall order. Any parent who’s ever asked, “How was school?” and got the response, “Fine” knows that children can be reticent. And when someone’s depressed, talking is often the last thing they want to do. Provide some low-stress, low-distraction opportunities, like taking a walk or preparing a meal together, for your child to talk to you.

6. Be your child’s advocate in the health care system.

Make sure that their doctor is knowledgeable, caring and someone who really listens. Take charge your child’s treatment. Ensure that your child keep appointments and takes the prescribed medication. You may have to be tough and persistent, but treatment, either medication or therapy or both, is the only thing that will make any difference.

7. Don’t be afraid of the “S” word.

You may be afraid to ask your child if they are having suicidal thoughts, assuming that you will put the idea in their head. Don’t worry. Either they are already having suicidal thoughts, in which case it may be a big relief to talk about it. If they haven’t, talking about it openly will allow them to bring the subject up again if this changes. And please note that even children younger than 12 do commit suicide.

8. Encourage your child to socialize.

Even though someone who’s depressed may shun gatherings, be persistent. Contact with friends and family provides a support system that is essential to someone with depression.

9. Encourage your child to enter therapy.

Talk therapy, especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can help your child break out of negative and self-hating thought patterns that are generated by depression.

10. Be patient.

This won’t turn around overnight. If you feel like you need help coping with the situation, you might want to try individual therapy or family counseling.
Source: www.wingofmadness.com/10-ways-child-depressed/

Teen Depression - Boys

Adolescent males face a unique set of pressures.

They're young, they're often highly visible—and they're in deep trouble. America's adolescent boys may look strong as they swagger down the street, but in reality they are the population at highest risk today for all kinds of serious problems.

Rates of anxiety disorders and depression are soaring among them. For the first time, depression among males is nearly as prevalent as among females in this group.

Adolescent males find themselves facing a set of unique pressures. Shifting gender opportunities have left many boys in the dust. The girls may now be equal players on the soccer team, but the boys no longer know the rules of play.

Then too, the boys, as well as their sisters, belong to the first generation of divorce. Instead of a stable and supportive family base to keep them from feeling overwhelmed at times of stress, many are the products of absentee parents and conflict.

And today's boys are facing unprecedented stresses from many directions. While there is less certainty about the outcome of the college race, there is no let up in expectations for male success. There is more career confusion, and paths seem less clear.

Given the disquietude, substance abuse is an easy lure, as is the pressure for early sexual activity. Contrary to popular mythology, boys are just as anxious and confused about sex as the girls are.

But perhaps the biggest problem with today's young males is that they often have mild to moderate alexithymia—they are unable to identify their own (and others') feelings and thus unable to communicate about them. They never learned how from absent or overworked fathers.

However, the ability to communicate feelings is an increasingly important survival skill. It is certainly required for stable interpersonal relationships throughout life—at school, at work, and in the families most expect eventually to create.

For adolescent boys as for anyone, resolving the pressures in one's life involves figuring out how you feel. Alexithymia is like having a padlock on your tongue.

There is an immediate need to take action. If not, our sons face life-threatening consequences—drug and/or alcohol addiction, self-destructive behavior and accidents, suicide, and violence towards others. Such problems are already rampant.

  • Educate yourself about the psychology of boys. Read Real Boys by William Pollack, Ph.D. And if you need more, get Real Boys' Voices, in which boys confide how they are struggling with their masculinity, their sexuality, their future, their harassment from other boys, their feelings, their relationships with their parents and girlfriends, and more. \
    Talk with adolescent boys. Let them know that you're really interested in understanding their experience in the world. Make no attempt to judge the information or control the discussion.
  • Discard the prevailing cultural myth that would have you take a step back from their lives. More than ever, adolescence is a time when kids need your support. Their lives depend on it.
  • Recognize that there is an all-important difference in the way genders display distress. Boys tend to express negative feelings in violence toward themselves or others, in self-destructive behavior and recklessness, and in substance abuse.
  • Take on the task of teaching emotional intelligence . You can't leave its development to chance. But even before you begin, tell the truth—that feelings are good, a source of strength, not a sign of weakness.
    Help the young males in your life to develop an emotional vocabulary. To do this, they need to understand their own feelings and those of others, and put names to what they too often feel as undifferentiated distress.

Then impart emotional management skills . Boys in particular need to learn how to manage stress and the negative emotions—anger , fear , frustration, sadness, loneliness , doubt—because they are at risk for acting them out.

  • Teach empathy. Help boys learn to put themselves in the other person's place.
  • Help boys learn to handle competitive feelings. Males especially need strengthening of the ego so they can be more independent of others' judgment when others are being negative towards them.
  • Teach boys to connect and communicate instead of detaching when they face problems. Interaction always leads to better solutions. Boys need to be openly told that the closer they are to others, the safer and stronger they will feel. Support them in developing a "family of choice," composed of friends and parents of friends. And encourage them to improve relationships in their own family. Instruct males to ask for feedback. They need to ask others how they are coming across. The world is too complicated for anyone to figure these things out alone.
  • Stay connected to young boys even though society pulls you in the other direction. My 13-year-old son occasionally asks me to walk him to school. I wouldn't think of saying no. But he consciously knows he's going to get flack from his peers. So a block from school he invariably says to me, "OK, Mom, now it's time for us to detach." We disengage our hands—but we still discuss what it all means.

Source: www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200207/teen-depression-boys

Teen Depression - Girls

How to get closer to your teenaged daughter and prevent depression.

It's clear that many kids are breaking down in college. But most of the issues affecting them are at play well before they get to college age.

If you wish to understand what is happening with young adults, it's wise to focus on teenagers. We have all heard about the male loner who suddenly blows people up, like the pipe bomber or the Columbine kids. We are learning about the girls who are as aggressive as the boys but who are indirect in their aggression, the so-called mean girls syndrome. They are the most visible symbols of some disturbing trends.

By any measure, our young people are in trouble. Rates of depression and anxiety are soaring—and getting worse. Possibly one out of three teens will end up with significant clinical depression needing treatment. Their suicide rates have tripled.

We need to take action. If you are the parent or sibling of a teenager, or come in contact with them on a regular basis, there is information you need to have and strategies to adopt. I want to focus this article on teenage girls.

  • Make no assumptions that you know what is really going on. Recognize that you are ignorant even though you'd love to believe you're not. Teenagers represent the most classic case of what you see is not what you get. One major reason parents are out of touch is that to be in touch takes a great deal of time and parents are just too harried.
  • Recognize that to be in touch requires new communications skills, and they have to be learned if you expect to connect with and understand these kids. All the skills that worked up to this point no longer work.
  • Turn to the real experts for answers, the people who are immersed in the peer culture teens set up for themselves, adults who work with teens day in and day out and know how to help them. Take workshops and classes where you get hands-on training in skill-building.

One of the best sources of information is The Inside Story on Teen Girls, by Alice Rubenstein, Ed.D., and Karen Zager, Ph.D. The book was published by the American Psychological Association.

  • Appreciate how different their world is from ours, and expose yourself to the culture your kids are immersed in. Look on it as an anthropological exploration. Ask kids what's hip and what they are paying attention to. Watch a half hour of MTV for a couple of weeks. Ask your kids to show you some of their favorite computer games and video games. Look at the magazines teen girls read. Go online to good teen websites.
  • Take all the expertise you've gathered and distill it down to some core action strategies that will work with your particular kids.
  • Let your kids know that you're really interested in learning about them and their lives without judging or controlling—and that it can be at their time and in their way.
  • Make yourself available at the most inconvenient times. Your kids will purposely choose the worst time of your day or week to open up to you. They want to talk when you're exhausted, in bed, and they've just come home at curfew time.

You have to mobilize your values and realize that your exhaustion is not worth missing an opportunity to connect. In the long run connection produces more value than a night's sleep .

  • Whatever else, avoid comments—positive or negative—about body appearance. Any remarks are triggers to cultural craziness on the topic. Instead talk about health and strength.
  • Engage in activities together, which then tend to open up opportunities for communication and connection, rather than sitting down eyeball to eyeball. One of the very best approaches is a shared fitness activity. Walk, run or do yoga together; or go to the gym and lift weights together. Take in a museum exhibit on video art. Go to a movie like Bridget Jones' Diary. But don't go shopping together.

There are many reasons why depression is rampant in young people. They face unprecedented pressures to succeed. The college race is harder and more uncertain than ever. As the pressure has increased, so has anxiety, because adults aren't there to teach kids how to handle it. It's exploding in eating disorders , anxiety disorders and aggression.

This is the first generation of divorce , the product of absentee parents and lots of conflict.

Today's teens face more pressure for sexual activity earlier, a situation that can be very depressing for those who aren't ready or don't know what to do.

There is an epidemic of low self-esteem , because parents haven't had the time it takes to build it. That has left adolescent girls prey to body image issues.

It's critical to go after depression in the young. We now know that there is a kindling effect: the younger you are when you get your first depression, the more at risk you are for serious adult depressions with more frequency. The faster anyone can pick up on depression and its signs in young people, the quicker they can be helped.
Source: www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200206/teen-depression-girls

Who Young People Turn to for Help

Study Shows 900,000 Teens Planned Suicides While Depressed

Approximately 900,000 American teens 12-17 years old had made a plan to commit suicide during their worst or most recent episode of major depression, and 712,000 attempted suicide during such an episode, a new federal study reports. Source: www.healthcentral.com/newsdetail/408/1506914.html

Over half of teachers report kids feel anxiety now that Trump is president

A study from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit political organization, found that over half of teachers report that the kids in US feel anxiety now that President Trump has taken office.

The problem is the most prevalent among Muslims, immigrants, and children of immigrants. Local therapist Anita Gandhia-Smith says kids take on their parents’ anxiety.

What can you do? It's best to talk to your child openly and honestly. They are likely hearing rumors and gossip in school.

Ghandia-Smith suggests reassuring your kids and telling them that it is going to be ok.

"There is an element of having basic trust in the system and in the universe," said Ghandia -Smith.

"Help your children understand that the system has worked for a long time. There are lots of checks and balances."

Mayor Muriel Bowser and other mayors all over the country, have come out and said that D.C. will continue to protect immigrants.

Madeline Albright is the latest prominent figure to come out and say she will register as Muslim if there is a Muslim registry, so Muslims do not feel alone. If your child is struggling with anxiety, here are a few resources that can help:



If you want to contact Dr. Anita Gandhia-Smith: www.fromaddictiontorecovery.com/
Source: www.wusa9.com/news/local/dc/study-half-of-kids-in-the-us-feel-anxiety-now-that-trump-is-president/393802904

A comic that accurately sums up depression and anxiety — and the uphill battle of living with them

Sarah Flanigan has been fighting depression since she was 10 years old and anxiety since she was 16. "I wish everyone knew that depression is not something that people can just 'snap out of,'" she explains. "I mean, if I could 'snap out of it,' I would have by now."

Depression and anxiety disorders are real illnesses. Mental illnesses are not "in someone's head," they're not something a person can "just get over," and they affect so many of us — over 40 million people in the U.S. alone.

Despite how common they are, it's still really difficult to explain to people who may have never experienced a mental illness.

Enter: cute, clever illustrations that get the job done.

Nick Seluk, who creates the amazing comics at The Awkward Yeti, heard from reader Sarah Flanigan. She shared her story of depression and anxiety with him. If it could help even one person, she said, it would be worth it.

Nick turned her story into a fantastic comic that perfectly captures the reality of living with depression and anxiety. (Go to the web site to see the actual cartoon.)

"The hardest part of living with depression and anxiety for me is feeling like I have to hide it," Sarah said. "I've always been known as the happy one in my group of friends. Everyone's always so shocked when I tell them I have depression or they see the self-harm scars."

"It's much harder than it should be to say, 'Hey, I have depression and I've been struggling with self-harm since I was 10 and I just really need your support to get me through tonight,'" Sarah explained.

Let's all keep working to make it easier for our friends, family members, and ourselves to get support. Let's keep talking about it.


These comics were created by Nick Seluk of The Awkward Yeti, published on Tapastic. I'm sharing them with Nick's express permission. He's a really cool guy who has an entire "Medical Tales Retold" series that, until recently, focused on physical conditions. He covers a lot there and makes the difficult reality of living with certain conditions a little lighter. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Huge props to Sarah for bravely sharing her story with Nick and, in turn, thousands and thousands of people. She was hoping for just one person to see the comic and know they weren't fighting the battle alone. She more than accomplished that, and we're all better for it!
Source: www.upworthy.com/a-comic-that-accurately-sums-up-depression-and-anxiety-and-the-uphill-battle-of-living-with-them?c=upw1&u=07fa0e7f2d23f338b4a3b29d16b2a71a4c4e496b

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