Teenage depression was on the rise before the pandemic. Covid-19 has exacerbated the issue. During an age when teens want to be flourishing socially and forging their own identities, they are instead confined to their homes, their social bubbles, or their hybrid virtual and in-person schools. 

A 2021 poll showed that 46% of parents noticed new or worsening mental health in their teen children since the start of the pandemic. As if adolescence wasn’t a tumultuous time already, now teens must navigate the restrictions, repercussions, and fears that the virus has infected the world with. Add grief to that list: more than 46,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent to Covid-19.

Normal Moodiness V.S. Teenage Depression

Teens are supposed to be moody and act out on occasion. It’s normal for young adults to want to contradict their parents and see how far they can bend rules. However, as many as one in five teens struggles with depression at some point, and many of these cases go unnoticed. If you aren’t sure whether your teen is experiencing normal growing pains or something more, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do my teen’s mood swings seem out of proportion to the circumstance? 
  • Has my teen experienced an increase in headaches, poor appetite or eating too much, fatigue, apathy, or sleeping too much or too little? 
  • Have my teen’s routines and behaviors suddenly changed? Has my “A” student suddenly stopped doing their homework?
  • Has this depressive behavior lasted for more than two weeks?

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers aged 15 to 19. As a parent, equipping yourself with the knowledge to recognize teenage depression is the first step to protecting your teen’s mental health. 

Signs That Your Teenager is Struggling with Depression

Even if your teen doesn’t display all the signs of poor mental health outwardly, they may still be struggling. Here are some signs that your teen may be experiencing depression: 

  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or favorite activities
  • Poor self-image
  • Lack of motivation
  • Excessive crying 
  • Addiction to technology
  • Outbursts
  • Running away from home or skipping school
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene 
  • Irritability or anger
  • Social isolation
  • Troubles socially or academically at school
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Risky behavior such as shoplifting 
  • Drug or alcohol abuse 
  • Acts of self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation, as well as making a plan to act

Find an Adolescent Therapy Specialist

Depending on the severity of your teen’s depression, they can be treated with a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, lifestyle changes, or medication. Therapy can help your teen understand where they are developmentally and the connections between their thoughts, behaviors, and moods. A trained therapist can offer a calm and reassuring presence, guiding teens to understand what they really want and the choices available to them, use strategies to cope with negative feelings, effectively express emotions, and facilitate positive changes in their lives. 

Reach out Now 

For questions about how family therapy can help with teenage depression, reach the office of Brett Beaver, LMFT, by using this quick contact form. You can learn more about Brett and his approach to therapy by clicking this link.