Are you worried about your teen? Maybe you’re not sure if your child’s teenage depression is normal moodiness, or a sign that something is really wrong. The following article is an overview of risk factors and some of the top warning signs that your teen needs professional help.
Mental Health Conditions
If your teen has a mental health condition, such as an anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder, they’re at a greater risk for suicide because dealing with the stressors of daily life are already more difficult for them. On top of which, teenage depression can create a sense of hopelessness that life will ever get better. This may also be true if there’s a history of mood disorders in your family.
Access to Means
Does your teen have access to weapons or medications that they could use to hurt themself? If you’re worried about teenage depression, be sure to safely store things like firearms or meds in a place where your teen won’t have access to them.
Bullying and Abuse
Bullying and abuse are both circumstances that make teen suicide more likely. This can include physical, mental, or emotional abuse, as well as neglect. Additionally, children who are exposed to any form of violence are at a higher risk.
Teens who were adopted often struggle with their sense of identity and belonging, as well as ideas of self-worth. They may wonder why they were given up for adoption, or feel like they don’t fit in because there’s something different about them.
Here are some of the most notable red flags:
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Talking or writing about suicide, even jokingly
- Risky, self-destructive behaviors
- Trouble at school or falling grades
- Changes to sleep habits, such as sleeping all day
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Low self-esteem
- Giving away meaningful personal possessions
- Vandalism or shoplifting
- Dramatic personality changes
- Violent or rebellious behavior
- Teenage depression
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Conflict with friends or family
- Self-harm, like cutting
What to Do
If you’ve noticed that some of the items on this list apply to your child, teen therapy can help. Parents often make the mistake of believing they can handle things on their own, but it’s important to ask for help. If you find yourself in a situation where your teen is threatening to hurt themself, know that you can take your child to the emergency room if you need immediate help.
Therapy for Teenage Depression
As adults, we often assume that life is easier for teens. We may feel nostalgia for our own childhoods when things were simpler, or wish we could start all over again. But it’s easy to forget that all teens have real stressors and they need help learning tools to cope with the challenges of life.