American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

 Suicide and Suicide Prevention


Teen Health Expert    By Barbara Poncelet

Teen Depression Quiz

Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression

Causes of Depression

10 Risk Factors of Suicide

Could You Be Depressed?

Antidepressant Medications

 What are the signs of teen depression? How do I know if my teen is depressed?

 5 Ways Teenage Depression Differs from Adult Depression

13 Triggers to Teen Depression

Initial Steps in Helping Your Depressed Teen

Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression

Is Your Teen Depressed? 5 Things You Can Do


Teen Addiction Resource – The Recovery Village

Substance Use and Abuse in Teens

Emotional and Mental Health Issues of Teens

Teen Relationships: Friends, Significant Others and More

Common Diseases and Disorders of Teens

Promoting Fitness and Good Nutrition in Your Teen

Body Image and Self Esteem

Normal Growth and Development of Teenagers

School, Hobbies, and Extracurriculars

Preparing Your Teen for a Healthy College Experience

Glossary of Teen Health Terms

Puberty and Teen Sexual Development

Teen Wellness

Common Teen Diseases and Disorders

Updated Articles and Resources


Ages and Stages: Teens

Today’s Teens

Behavior and Discipline

Education and School Life for Teens

Family and Home Life

Talk to Your Teen

Teen Dating and Sexuality 

Teen Health Issues

Teen Activities

Parenting Troubled Teens

Teen Drug Use and Abuse

Teen Party Planning and Events

Guiding Your Teen’s Future

Teen Crafts and Projects

How To Parent Today’s Teens

High School and Summer Vacation

Teen Health and Wellness

Updated Articles and Resources

Expert Videos


Quiz: Are you raising a healthy teen?

Parenting Quiz: Is Your Teen a Spoiled Brat?

Quiz: Is your teen safe online?

Quiz: Are You a Pushover Parent?

Quiz: Do you have a case of parental burnout?

Quiz: Is your teen over-scheduled?

Quiz: Are you raising a mean girl?

 How Well Do You Really Know Your Teen?

Screening Quiz: Is Your Teen Lying?

Teens and Babysitting Quiz: Is Your Teen Ready to Babysit?

Teen Depression Quiz: Is your teen depressed?

Screening Quiz: Is your teen ready to get a job?

Teen Dating Quiz – Are they friends or are they dating?

Quiz: Is your teenager stressed out?

All Parenting Teen Quizzes



Teen Depression

Depression is a condition that affects approximately 5% of children and teens at any given time, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Depression can cause problems such as difficulties in school, difficulties with relationships, and general decreased enjoyment of life. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, one of the leading causes of death for teens in the United States.

Take the time to educate yourself on this important and difficult subject for the health and happiness of your teen.

What is Depression?

Depression is an illness with many causes and many forms. It is a disorder of someone’s moods or emotions; it is not an attitude that someone can “control” or “snap out of,” but it is treatable with counseling and/or medication.

Symptoms of Depression

A teenager with depression might have some or all of these signs of the illness:

· Sad or depressed mood

· Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

· Loss of interest in things he or she used to enjoy

· Withdrawal from friends and family

· Crying

· Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much

· Loss of appetite, or increased appetite

· Aches and pains that don’t go away, even with treatment

· Irritability

· Feeling tired despite getting enough sleep

· Inability to concentrate

· Thoughts of suicide, talk of suicide, or suicide attempts

Kinds of Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health states that there are two common forms of depression: major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder:

· Major Depressive Disorder, also called major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once–pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout a person’s life.

· Dysthymic Disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by long–term (two years or longer) but less severe symptoms that may not disable a person, but can prevent one from functioning normally or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.

Causes of Depression

There are thought to be many causes of depression. There are most likely many factors behind who develops depression and who doesn’t, and these factors are no different for teens.

· Traumatic Life Event, such as the loss of a loved one or pet, divorce or remarriage. Any event that causes distress or trauma, or even just a major change in lifestyle, can trigger depression.

· Social Situation/Family Circumstances. Unfortunately, there are teens who live under difficult circumstances. Domestic violence, substance abuse, poverty or other family issues can cause stress and depression in a teen.

·  Genetics/Biology. It has been found that depression runs in families and that there is a genetic basis for depression. Keep in mind, though, that teens who have depression in their family will not necessarily get the illness, and teens without a history of depression in their family can still get the disorder.

·  Medical Conditions. Occasionally, depression is a sign of another medical illness, such as hypothyroidism, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or other disorders.

·  Medications/Illegal Drugs. Some legal, prescription medications can have depression as a side effect. Certain illegal drugs (street drugs) can also cause depression.

What Can I Do if I Think My Teen is Depressed?

Talk to your teen about your concerns. There may be a specific cause for why he or she is acting a certain way. Opening up the lines of communication lets your teenager know you care and that you are available to talk about the situation.

Also, talk to your pediatrician or family physician if you have concerns about your teen regarding depression. Your provider may be able to discuss the situation with your teen, rule out a medical reason for the behavior, recommend a counselor, or prescribe medication.

Lastly, DO NOT ignore the signs or symptoms of depression. Depression is treatable and there is help available for both you and your teen. If left untreated, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or even the act itself.

If your teen talks about suicide or attempts suicide, get help IMMEDIATELY. Your local community should have a 24-hour crisis hotline for mental health emergencies. You can also call the Kristen Brooks Hope Center at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) for help, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.