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How to Help Your Teen with Depression

a teen wraps their arms around their knees while wondering how to help a teen with depression

It can be challenging to see the signs of depression when they appear in teenagers, but according to the World Health Organization, depression among teens is common and serious. If a child you know needs help from a teen depression treatment program, contact Honey Lake Clinic at 888.428.0562 today.

How to Help a Teen With Depression: Know the Symptoms

The first step in helping your teen with depression is to pay attention to their behavior, not their words. An “I’m fine” response may be the best you get when you try to talk to your teen about their mental health.

Though the symptoms of depression and the behavior of a surly teenager often overlap, there is one big difference. Outbursts are, by definition, occasional. Hormone-driven mood fluctuations come and go, but depression symptoms are ongoing. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Critical self-talk
  • Complaints of stomach problems, and aches and pains
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sadness
  • Isolating from friends
  • Disinterest in school or a drop in grades
  • Lack of energy, complaints of fatigue
  • Unusual levels of irritability
  • Talk about death or suicide

Anyone can have a bad day or two, but if symptoms linger for more than a week, contact your child’s doctor. If your teenager talks about or threatens suicide, take them seriously. Seek help from a mental health professional or call 911 if the situation is an emergency.

Helping Your Teen With Depression: Ask and Listen

Simple questions like, “Are you okay?” are easy for a teen to blow off. Sit down with your teen and tell them you want to have a meaningful conversation with them.

You might mention you’ve noticed they seem unhappy or that you’re concerned because they don’t spend time with their friends anymore. Ask open-ended questions that encourage your teen to talk. Some examples include:

  • Can you explain why you feel sad/mad/unhappy?
  • Do you think about harming yourself?
  • Can you tell me why you feel this way?

If your child is reluctant to open up, keep asking. Remind them that depression is a common health condition and that a variety of treatments are available to help them.

Give your child your full attention. Resist the temptation to interrupt while they are talking or offer advice. Let them share what’s going on in their own way. Summarize what you’ve heard to make sure you understand them.

Don’t invalidate what they are going through with statements like, “Everyone feels that way sometimes,” or, “It’s not that big of a deal.” More productive responses include statements like, “I can see how that would feel overwhelming,” or “I didn’t realize you were going through so much. I am here to support you in any way I can.”

Find Support

How to help a teen girl with depression can depend on that teen’s overall needs. Finding a residential therapy program designed specifically for teenagers may be the best option.

If your teen resists the idea of entering therapy, speak with your family doctor, a favorite teacher, or the school counselor. Speaking with another trusted adult may help them become more comfortable with the idea of therapy.

Visit the campus so your teen has an idea of what they will be experiencing in treatment. Understanding the therapy process will remove some of the fear and stigma attached to mental health treatment.

Learn More About How to Help a Teen With Depression at Honey Lake Clinic

Do you need more advice on how to help a teen girl with depression? The clinicians at Honey Lake Clinic are here to help you and your teen win the struggle with depression. Call Honey Lake Clinic today at 888.428.0562 to learn more.