NURTURE INFORMATION HUB
Being sad and having a low mood occasionally is part of every teenager’s life. However, teenagers with depression appear persistently sad and moody. Teenagers with depression often complain of being bored and appear to have low energy. They feel worthless useless or guilty.
Teenagers which show the following signs that last longer than 2 weeks should seek an appointment with their health care team, either their GP, a Counsellor or Psychologist:
Depression can interfere with a teenager’s academic performance. It can cause difficulty concentrating and a lack of motivation. It can lead to increased absences from school. Many teenagers with depression have problems fitting in at school or getting along with other their peers. They often isolate themselves from peers and their family which can cause their depression to get even worse. Depression in teenagers can see them engage in risk-taking behaviours such as unprotected sex or drug and alcohol abuse.
If the depression is severe you should take your teenager to a counsellor or Psychologist for treatment. Sometimes a teenager may be referred to a psychiatrist. If your teenager refuses to attend the appointments, you should still attend the appointments to gain knowledge and support on how you can help your teenager. Medicating is always a concern but, in some cases, medication combined with therapy is more beneficial than therapy alone. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for teenagers with depression. A mental health professional can develop a therapy plan that works best for the teenager and family.
As teenagers are more accountable and aware of their behaviour, you as the parent may not be part of the treatment sessions, your respect to their privacy is paramount. Although extremely difficult for parents, let your teenager share therapy sessions with you when they are ready. Your support and respect will be a great benefit to your teenager.
Parents can also do the following activities to help their child:
Questions for Health Care Team:
It is really difficult to see you teenager feeling sad and upset for a long time. It can affect other family members as well. It is important for parents to look after their own health and well-being. Parents should reach out and seek help from a counsellor or doctor to talk it through.
“Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind”
- Dr. Seuss