Somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of our children and teens will suffer from at least one depressive episode before they reach adulthood.
These episodes come in many forms—ranging from the child who doesn’t want to go to school to the teen who is constantly in a rage to the withdrawn child who barely speaks.
Often, these episodes are seen as just a phase or typical behavior, but depression, clinical depression, is not part of typical behavior—it is a disorder that deserves attention and needs treatment. Most children and teens who suffer from depression go undiagnosed and untreated.
Many parents don’t know the signs of depression or where to turn for help, and, if they reach out for help, they often become frustrated trying to find it. Understanding exactly what’s going on with your child, finding the right treatment, dealing with the schools—all have their unique challenges and can deplete the energy of even the most dedicated parent.
There is a lot of stigma attached to having depression—as a society we just don’t like to talk about it.
We feel guilty and ashamed—about having it, even about having it in our family. But the simple fact is that depression is an identifiable and observable disorder with specific symptoms and, like any physical illness you or your child might have, depression should be treated.
The Parent Handbook on Childhood and Teen Depression is designed to help – with practical ideas written in an easy to read style, we are here to help you. This is a parent-to-parent guide and contains ideas that we have found helpful – ideas that we hope will be of some help to you as you deal with this difficult time in your family’s life.
Our parent handbook, available in both English and Spanish, was written by parents, not professionals, and errs on the side of practical, rather than professional, advice. It is not a substitute for professional help, which we urge you to seek. We don’t have all of the solutions, but we do offer suggestions for guidance from other parents who have dealt with teenage depression.
We encourage parents, caregivers, and all trusted adults to download our free Parent Handbook and read our other blogs. We’re In This Together and together we can Get Depression Out of the Dark.