Depression is a serious mental health condition that all parents of teenagers should be aware of. Even though young people are thought to be in the prime of their lives, they often struggle with severe and debilitating depression. Fortunately, those who seek treatment for their depression may be able to recover and go on to live rich, fulfilling lives. If you are the parent, caregiver, or loved one of a teen, knowing the warning signs of depression is vital. That way, you can identify if a potential problem exists and get the teen the help, support, and treatment they may desperately need.
Know The Warning Signs Of Depression And How They Manifest In Teens
Depression can look different from one person to another and from one age group to another. Thus, before you encourage the child in your life to seek help for depression, educate yourself on the common warning signs among this age group. For example, teens may be more likely to exhibit irritable behaviors than adult sufferers of depression. Other common depression warning signs in teenagers include:
- Sudden changes in behavior or mood and/or unpredictable emotional outbursts
- Difficulty dealing with criticism
- Practicing self-harm
- Pulling away from friends or parents or demonstrating a sudden unwillingness to engage in social activities
These are just a few of the many possible symptoms of teen depression. Furthermore, any unexplained changes in behavior, appearance, or performance could indicate some kind of issue. For this reason, you should watch your teen closely and consider professional guidance if you have any cause for concern.
Don’t Be Scared To Speak With Your Teen About Your Concerns
Ignoring a prospective problem is one of the worst and most dangerous things to do. In fact, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to help your teen if they are struggling. If you think depression may be a problem, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with your teenager.
Be loving, kind, and considerate and avoid making accusations. Instead, ask leading questions about how the teen is feeling and about any recent changes in their life. Whether the teen is honest and forthcoming about their struggles or reluctant to talk, pay attention, and don’t be afraid to speak to a counselor or other professional if you still have concerns.
Model Positive Behavior And Practice Self-Care
Parenting a teenager is difficult, particularly when that teen is experiencing mental health struggles. However, parents are still human and need to care for their own health and well being. Practicing healthy self-care techniques can better equip parents to help their teens. Taking time to decompress or working with a counselor also models appropriate behavior for the teen and can make them more likely to take their own mental health and their own healing journey more seriously.
Be Aware Of The Risk Of Suicide
Suicide is not an easy topic to discuss or even think about. Despite that fact, untreated teen depression may lead to an increased risk of suicide, which is why parents must do everything they can to protect their children. Any and all threats of suicide should be taken seriously. Similarly, if teens exhibit any indicators of suicidal behavior, such as making plans to harm themselves, giving away prized possessions, or expressing a desire to die, seek emergency help immediately. This is a simple step that could save an adolescent’s life.
Teenage depression can have many causes, and parents should never blame themselves. What they should do is be proactive and responsible. They should monitor their teens, identify the signs of depression or other problems, and take steps to get outside help when needed. If parents can do those things, they can increase the chances of raising healthy, happy teens who turn into healthy, happy adults.