Parenting teens can be difficult, and it’s important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in their children. Teen depression is a serious mental health issue that can have devastating consequences if left untreated. It’s important for parents to look for signs of depression in their teens and provide them with the appropriate support. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of teen depression, how to recognize them, and what parents can do to help their children. We will also discuss the benefits of therapy in helping teens with depression.
Warning Signs of Teen Depression
Teen depression can be difficult for parents to recognize, especially because teens may not display outward signs of distress. But there are several signs that can indicate your teen may be struggling with depression.
Common signs of teen depression include:
a persistent feeling of sadness
loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy
fatigue and loss of energy
trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
frequent physical complaints such as headaches and stomachaches
withdrawal from friends and family
thoughts of death or suicide
If you notice any of these signs in your teen, it is important to reach out for help.
One option is to try psychotherapy, which can provide a safe space for teens to explore their feelings and learn how to better manage them. Many therapists use evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes worksheets and exercises that can help teens manage their thoughts and behavior. Psychotherapy can also help teens build the skills they need to cope with stress and build healthy relationships.
Why Teens May be Reluctant to Seek Help
Many teens may not want to admit they are struggling with depression, as they may be ashamed or think they can handle it on their own. They may also be reluctant to ask for help because they are worried about being judged, feeling embarrassed, or misunderstood. Additionally, the idea of talking to a therapist can be intimidating. For example, they may feel anxious about talking about their thoughts and feelings in a therapy session or filling out worksheets. It’s understandable that teens may be apprehensive about seeking help, and it’s important that parents remain understanding and supportive throughout the process.
How Parents Can Encourage Their Teens to Seek Help
It can be difficult for parents to know how to help. Fortunately, there are several ways parents can encourage their teens to seek help.
The first step is to start a conversation with your teen. Ask them how they are feeling and try to be understanding and non-judgmental. Reassure them it’s ok to ask for help and that talking to someone can help them feel better.
Encourage your teen to keep a mood journal, where they can write down how they feel each day and any changes they notice. Keeping track of this information can be helpful when working with mental health professionals.
Make sure your teen knows you are there for them and willing to help. Offer to accompany them to therapy appointments, provide them with books or worksheets on self-care, or even just talk with them when they need it. It’s important to create a safe space in which your teen can talk openly about their emotions.
Above all, remind your teen they are not alone. Everyone experiences moments of depression or sadness, and no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help.
When to Seek Professional Help
When it comes to teen depression, it’s important to know when to seek professional help. If your teen is displaying any of the warning signs of depression such as low mood, fatigue, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, isolation, or poor school performance, it may be time to seek help. It’s important for parents to recognize when their child’s symptoms go beyond typical teenage angst and becomes more serious.
It may be helpful to speak with your teen’s doctor, or your own doctor or mental health provider if you have concerns about your teen’s mental health. The doctor can evaluate the symptoms and provide referrals to a mental health professional if necessary.
If you think that your teen is in crisis or in danger of harming themselves or others, it is important to seek help immediately. You can call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room for help. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) for 24/7 assistance.
There is no need to wait until the symptoms become severe before seeking help. Professional help can make all the difference in helping your teen manage their depression. By providing support and encouragement, you can help your teen work through this difficult time and build healthier coping skills.
This Week’s Free Resource
Click here to get the worksheet Creating a Support Map, designed to help teens understand how to seek help from the people around them.