Adolescent depression is real, serious and treatable. However, adolescence is a time of major changes, both physically and emotionally. That may make it difficult to identify beyond typical adolescent behavior, but by looking for the signs and symptoms of depression, we can see it.
Adolescence is frequently when depression may first happen, and is one of the most common mental health disorders among adolescents. Knowing the symptoms and watching for changing behaviors is an important piece of supporting your children.
Keeping Watch for Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of adolescent depression include:
- Change in mood: depressed or irritable
- Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities
- Significant weight change or change in appetite
- Change in sleep: sleeping too much or too little
- Change in activity: feeling sped up or slowed down
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Negative self-perception: feeling worthless or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Problem thinking clearly: diminished ability to think, concentrate or indecisiveness
- Suicidality: thoughts of death or suicide or acts of self-harm
There are also common behavioral changes we may notice that can indicate depression is at play:
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Problems getting to school
- A drop in grades
- Physical aches and pains
- A change in friends
- Running away
- Reckless behavior
- Lack of attention to appearance or hygiene
Families Taking Action
If you are concerned about your child because they are exhibiting signs and symptoms of depression, Erika’s Lighthouse has resources designed just for you. Our Family Workbook Series, Family Workshops and other resources are here to help you – and available immediately. These include discussion guides, in-home activities to spur conversations about mental health, and more.
Schools Taking Action
School communities can play a vital role in educating students, their families, and school professionals about the signs and symptoms of depression. Students spend almost 20% of their time in school in focused, observant times where educators and school professionals can see changes in behaviors and raise concerns. You and your school community can make an impact today.
◊ Educators and students can use our bookmark Action into Awareness Activities to educate peers, other students, families, and guardians. Be sure to look under “Advocacy Efforts” in the Awareness into Action Activities” section.