High SchoolKids

Signs your teenager could be depressed

Is your teen sad for no apparent reason? Do they isolate themselves from family or friends? Do they cry, or are they irritable, moody, and angry? Has their appetite changed – either increased or decreased? Do they lose concentration, or are easily distracted? If your teen displays one or more of these signs, they could …

Is your teen sad for no apparent reason? Do they isolate themselves from family or friends? Do they cry, or are they irritable, moody, and angry? Has their appetite changed – either increased or decreased? Do they lose concentration, or are easily distracted? If your teen displays one or more of these signs, they could be suffering from depression. Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. Depression is ranked as the tenth leading cause of death among children over ten years old and is something parents should not ignore. 

How to react to your child’s depression

No one knows your child better than you. When your child displays signs of depression, you have to speak to your child before the situation worsens. Tell them you have noticed that there seems to be something bothering them, and then let them talk at their own pace. Whatever they tell you, do not be judgemental. It is essential that they feel they can confide in you. But be warned that your child may refuse to speak to you because teens sometimes find it difficult to confide in their parents about specific subjects. If this is the case, ask them if there is someone that they may feel more comfortable speaking to. Keep in mind that teen depression isn’t a weakness or something that can be overcome with willpower. Sometimes your teen will need professional help to deal with depression.

Search for answers 

If your teen refuses to confide in you, look for clues that may explain why they are going through depression. While no one wants to be a snoop, it can help look through their computers, iPads, cell phones, etc., to make sure they are not involved in anything bad for their health or dangerous. Try to ask their permission to look through their room and items instead of going behind their back. Feeling untrusted is a sure-fire way to undo all the help you’re trying to give them. If you don’t make a breakthrough, speak to their close friends, a teacher, or a school guidance counsellor, as they may be able to offer you some guidance. Otherwise, check whether your teen has gone through or is going through the following:

  • Did they experience a break-up?
  • Have they found a new group of friends recently?
  • Are they acting or dressing differently?
  • Are they wearing long sleeves or covering their arms or wrists? This could be a sign of cutting.

Get help

You cannot hope that depression will go away on its own. You need to look for help in your area. Guidance counsellors at your child’s school may be able to steer you in the right direction. Make sure you discuss this with your teen first. If your child is not comfortable with the therapist or help you have chosen, find someone else. Try, also, to involve your teen in an activity that they enjoy. Being active and being around those who share their interests can be a very positive experience and an outlet for your teen. Remember that recovering from depression takes time. Be patient with your child and hold their hand as they navigate these feelings that are confusing to them.  

 

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