Where To Get Help For An Adolescent
If you think your son or daughter, or someone you are close to, might be depressed, the first step is to take them to a doctor. The doctor will conduct an assessment that may involve assessing the young person on their own, with their parents or carers, or both. This will depend on the age and maturity of the young person and the wishes of those involved.
The doctor will offer advice about managing the situation which may include lifestyle changes. The doctor may refer the young person onto a psychologist. They could also speak to the guidance officer or counsellor at your child’s school.
Sometimes the adolescent may not want to seek help. In this case it’s best to explain that you are concerned and perhaps also provide them with some information to read about depression. It’s important for them to know that depression is a common problem and that there are people who can help.
There are also some excellent websites designed for young people, as well as online and telephone counselling services. These include:
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.
- MindSpot Clinic call 1800 61 44 34.
- Beyond Blue call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
- Black Dog Institute online help.
- Lifeline call 13 11 14 or chat online.
Its More Common Than You Might Think
Everyone goes through a rough patch or feels listless on occasion. But major depression is a leading cause of disability in the United States, and teens are becoming the most likely group to screen for symptoms of this mental health condition.
Data shows that depression affects high numbers of young people:
- Data from the 2016 National Survey of Childrens Health showed that 3.2% of children ages 3 to 17 had a depression diagnosis. The frequency of depression diagnosis tends to increase as children enter their teen years.
- Around 3.2 million teens ages 12 to 17 had one major depressive episode in 2017.
- According to a 2021 Mental Health America report, severe major depression has increased in youth to 9.7%. This is an increase from 9.2% in 2020.
The 2021 MHA report also states that youth ages 11 to 17 were the most likely age group to score in the moderate-to-severe depression categories when screened for mental health conditions.
The symptoms of depression might be a bit different in teens and adults. You can read about the symptoms of depression in teens here.
How Many Teens Have Depression Why Is It So Common
The factors that go into explaining why depression is on the rise are complex. On one hand, the stigma surrounding mental health issues is being reduced. Mental health conditions are becoming a greater topic both at home and in school, as well as throughout pop culture. More and more celebrities and important figures have publicly addressed their own struggles with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions. More and more people are aware of at least one famous person and one person in their own lives who has struggled with a mental health condition. Resources and options for tackling depression have become more common, as well as more accessible.
While teens are still not getting the help they need, more and more are feeling comfortable with seeking it. This means that as we continue to accept mental health conditions as an unfortunate and treatable reality, we will see rates continue to rise. Yet aside from that, the factors that may influence and cause depression in teens have also grown over time. News stories, studies, and industry research such as the Facebook Papers have revealed that technologies like social media can have a negative impact on teen self-esteem and mental health. Even if they dont cause depression, they can and do exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
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Youth With Mde Who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services 2020
- 59% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment.
- Youth experiencing MDE continue to go untreated. Even among the states with greatest access for youth, almost 50% of youth are still not receiving the mental health services they need.
- The state prevalence of untreated youth with depression ranges from 39.5% in Rhode Island to 74.3% in North Carolina.
Depression Symptoms In Teens: Why Todays Teens Are More Depressed Than Ever
After a decline in the 1990s, the number of young people that commit suicide has been increasing every year. While no one can explain exactly why, many experts say adolescents and teens today probably face more pressures at home or school, worry about financial issues for their families, and use more alcohol and drugs. This is a very dangerous time for our young people, Kathy Harms, a staff psychologist at Kansas Citys Crittenton Childrens Center, told the Portland Press Herald. Were seeing more anxiety and depression in children of all ages.
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Recovery Possible But Relapse Risk Real
The study, published in the Archives of Adolescent Psychiatry, followed the progress of 86 male and 110 female adolescents who participated in a 12-week depression treatment study. Study participants were randomly assigned to receive the antidepressantfluoxetine , cognitive behavioral therapy, their combination, or placebo. After their initial 12-week treatment, the participants were followed for five years.
The results showed that 96% of the participants had recovered during the follow-up period, and the most effective depression treatment was a combination of fluoxetine and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Of the 189 participants who recovered, 88 or nearly half experienced a relapse of major depression within five years.
Researchers found the risk of relapse was not lower among those who received the most effective depression treatment. They found that teens who responded fully or partially to their short-term depression treatment were less likely to have a recurrence of depression than teens who did not respond to treatment .
Teens who also had an anxiety disorder also had a higher risk of depression relapse .
Lgbtq+ Teens Are At Greater Risk For Depression
Recent research shows that sexual identity can impact rates of depression among teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are at a higher risk for depression, suicide, and substance use.
But factors like supportive parents and an accepting atmosphere at school can also decrease the risk of depression in LGBTQ+ adolescents.
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Figure 4 More Parents Than Teens Reported Readiness For Care
The analysis found significant differences in teen readiness across racial and ethnic lines. The majority of African-American teens were unsure whether they were ready for treatment, and the majority of Hispanic teens were not ready by contrast, the majority of white teens reported being ready for treatment. In addition, teens in the ready group were more likely to
- be female
- come from households with annual incomes greater than $30,000
- have a greater number of depressive symptoms
- prefer combined treatment , compared with teens in the other two groups, who were more likely to prefer counseling only or no treatment.
Analysis of six-month follow-up data showed that being ready significantly increased the likelihood that teens would receive some form of care.
With respect to parent-teen comparisons, a substantially larger proportion of parents than teens expressed readiness for the teen to seek care . In addition, parent acknowledgement of the teen’s depression had a strong impact on teen readiness, independent of symptoms.
Why Are Todays Teens So Stressed Out
In my opinion, its all of the above and more, writes Therese J. Borchard, author of Beyond Blue. Most experts would agree with me that there is more stress today than in previous generations. Stress triggers depression and mood disorders, so that those who are predisposed to it by their creative wiring or genes are pretty much guaranteed some symptoms of depression at the confusing and difficult time of adolescence. I think modern lifestyles -lack of community and family support, less exercise, no casual and unstructured technology-free play, less sunshine and more computer -factors into the equation.
Borchard also wonders about the role of environmental factors such as diets of American processed fast foods and the possibility of increased exposure to toxins. She speculates that even if our brains are similar to research subjects in the past, our hectic lifestyles, environmental toxins, and other challenges may increase the stress factors that contribute to depression.
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Teen Readiness For Care Affects Treatment Seeking
Given the harmful effects of depression on teens’ lives, the need for intervention is clear. Yet studies show that nearly 80 percent of teens who suffer from mental disorders do not seek treatment. What affects decisions to seek care for depressed teens? Although many studies in the past have focused on structural barriers to care, such as insurance coverage and provider availability, very little research has focused on personal factors, such as readiness for care that is, perceptions about viewing depression as a problem, understanding the symptoms, knowing about treatment options, and wanting to get help. A second thread of the TDAP study analyzed teen and parent readiness for teens to seek depression care and examined the relationship between readiness and actually seeking treatment.
Do Children Get Depressed
Kids under 12 can experience depression. While the teen years are the usual onset period for depressive disorders, ranging from major depressive disorder to conditions like seasonal affective disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, young children can and do exhibit signs of depressive behavior. These include long-term loss of interest in hobbies, social withdrawal, poor academic performance, unresponsiveness, sleep problems, rapid weight loss or weight gain, and other similar symptoms.
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What Is Major Depression
People with major depression, a severe depression that can incapacitate those who are suffering, find it difficult or impossible to do normal daily activities, such as working, studying, sleeping, and eating. Furthermore, those who have had one episode of major depressive disorder are at high risk of having another.
Major depression is also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It is one of the forms of depression that has the most severe symptoms. Consequently, it can rise in bouts and last for a long period of time. Therefore, it significantly affects quality of life in all areas.
Symptoms include the following:
- Loss of interest in activities or relationships that used to be enjoyable
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Having a hard time concentrating
- Unexplained aches and pains, headaches and stomach problems
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Youth With Severe Mde Who Received Some Consistent Treatment 2020
- Nationally, only 28.2% of youth with severe depression receive some consistent treatment .
- Late recognition in primary care settings and limited coverage of mental health services often prevent youth from receiving timely and effective treatment.
- The state prevalence of youth with severe depression who received some outpatient treatment ranges from 53.9% in Maryland to 13.5% in South Carolina.
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Prevalence Of Major Depressive Episode Among Adolescents
- Figure 2 shows the past year prevalence of major depressive episode among U.S. adolescents in 2019.
- An estimated 3.8 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 15.7% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17.
- The prevalence of major depressive episode was higher among adolescent females compared to males .
- The prevalence of major depressive episode was highest among adolescents reporting two or more races .
|2 or more Races
*Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race all other racial/ethnic groups are non-Hispanic | AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native.Note: Estimates for Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander groups are not reported in the above table due to low precision.
There Are Many Types Of Depression
If you feel depressed, it does not automatically mean you have a depressive disorder. Depression may be a symptom of another physical or psychological medical condition.
Depression could also be a natural response to a major stressor and does not indicate that youll need to prepare to live with recurring depression.
Some types of depression include:
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What Causes Depression In Teens
Depression may be caused by several different factors, according to Rachel Busman, PsyD, a board-certified child and adolescent psychologist and senior director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. For starters, she says kids can have a biological predisposition toward anxiety or depression, which sets the stage for the condition. In other words, having a parent with depression makes children and teens more likely to develop depression themselves. Thats partly because kids learn from their parents behavior and tend to imitate their actions.
Depression may also be triggered by your biology/brain chemistry, as well as negative childhood experiences like neglect, trauma, abuse, or parental divorce. Another risk factor is being forced into stressful life events like dealing with a family death or starting college without sufficient coping strategies or a support network. Whats more, Rothman says kids who have a hard time in school, such as those with learning disabilities, could develop depression if theyre falling behind in their classes and grades.
What Are The Causes Of Depression In Teens
Why are teens so depressed these days? Theres no doubt that external circumstances are contributing to a sense of hopelessness and stress among this age group. They are coming of age in a world fraught with social, political, economic, and environmental problems, many of which seem insurmountable. Furthermore, research continues to show that the effects of social media are undermining young peoples mental health. Device overuse, particularly spending hours scrolling through social media, is directly associated with increased signs of depression in teens.
There are also more personal and individual causes of depression in teens, including:
- Traumatic experiences such as bullying, sexual abuse or harassment, or exclusion by peers
- Imbalances in brain chemistry, specifically the activity of neurotransmitters that influence mood and brain function
- An inherited tendency toward depression when a relative also suffers from the condition
- Childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or loss of a parent
- Learned helplessnessgrowing up in a way that makes a teen believe they have no control over what happens to them.
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Symptoms Of Depression In Teens
Many signs could indicate you have depression. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- feeling sad, hopeless, and worthless.
- you might also have trouble sleeping at night or too much sleep during the day.
- having no motivation to do anything you used to like doing,
- losing interest in friends & family members ,
- poor concentration on schoolwork or other activities that were fun before,
- weight changes because of lack of appetite or overeating habits which lead to obesity.
Its important to note if any substance abuse is present as this could be linked with depression.
Risks Of Untreated Depression
Teenagers who do not get help for depression can face risks. Although substance abuse is a common risk, it is not the only potential problem that can arise with depression.
The risks of untreated depression may include:
- Substance abuse that escalates to addiction
- Suicidal thoughts
- Risk-taking behaviors, particularly after abusing some substances
- Attempted suicide
- Greater risk of developing more severe forms of depression, anxiety or mental health disorders
Depression can contribute to the development of several problems. If you do not treat it, it may get worse over time. Some forms of depression will persist for years and may make it harder to avoid substance abuse. In the worst-case scenario, teenagers may attempt to commit suicide or may develop a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol. Attempts to self-medicate can also result in an overdose or severe physical health concerns.
The use of drugs to help alleviate feelings of depression does not only apply to adults. Teenagers can develop depressive disorders and may attempt to alleviate symptoms by taking marijuana, drinking alcohol or abusing other drugs. Even though substance abuse is a risk that can develop when a teenager is depressed, treating the depressive disorder early can reduce the risk of addiction and encourage healthier behaviors. When a teenager is showing symptoms of depression, it may be time to seek professional assistance.
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Implications For Practice And Research
TDAP made several contributions to the knowledge base for informing treatment of teen depression. It demonstrated for the first time that depression significantly impairs teens’ functioning across multiple domains and that these effects may linger. TDAP also showed how parent and teen attitudes and knowledge relate to treatment preferences and receiving care. Results showed that readiness for care, including accepting depression as a problem and desiring to seek treatment, exerts a strong influence on the decision to enter care that greater knowledge among both teens and parents about different depression therapies increases the chances of seeking care and that teens and parents who decide to seek treatment still perceive a number of barriers that may stop them from initiating or continuing care.
Data And Statistics On Children’s Mental Health
Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day.1 Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , anxiety, and behavior disorders.
There are different ways to estimate which children have difficulties with mental health. CDC uses surveys, like the National Survey of Childrens Health, to understand which children have diagnosed mental disorders and whether they received treatment. In this type of survey, parents report on the diagnoses their child has received from a healthcare provider. Learn more facts about childrens mental disorders below.
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