How To Help a Teenager With Depression: Tips And Therapies

child teen depression cover

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect anyone at any age, but it often starts during the teenage years. Depression in teenagers can look different than depression in adults, and it can be difficult to know how to help. In this blog post, we will discuss understanding depression in teenagers, what are the signs and symptoms of teen depression, and what you can do to help a teenager with depression. If you are concerned about your teenager or know someone who is struggling with teen depression, please keep reading for practical tips and advice from experts.

Understanding Depression In Teenagers

child teen depression

Depression in teenagers is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities. Teens with depression may also have problems with concentration, sleep, and appetite. Depression can lead to negative consequences such as poor school performance, social isolation, and even suicide.

What Are Types Of Depression In Teenagers?

Several types of depression can affect teenagers. The most common type is major depressive disorder, which involves a combination of symptoms such as sadness, loss of interest in activities, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite or sleep habits, and thoughts of suicide.

Other types of depression include:

Dysthymic disorder: a long-term form of depression that involves milder symptoms than major depressive disorder

Bipolar disorder: an illness that causes extreme mood swings, from manic highs to depressive lows

Persistent depressive disorder (formerly known as dysthymia): a type of depression that lasts for at least two years

Seasonal affective disorder: a form of depression that occurs during the winter months, when there is less daylight

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD): a new diagnosis that describes children who have severe and frequent mood swings, tantrums, and outbursts that are not caused by another mental health condition

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Teenagers?

symptoms child teen teen depression

The signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers can vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms may indicate that a teenager is struggling with depression. These symptoms include:

Feeling sad or hopeless most of the time: A teenager who is depressed may feel sad or hopeless all the time and have a hard time enjoying things that used to make them happy.

Loss of interest in activities: A teenager with depression may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and stop participating in social activities.

Feeling irritable, angry, or frustrated: Depression can cause teens to feel irritable, angry, and frustrated a lot of the time.

Low energy: A teenager with depression may have low energy and feel tired all the time.

Poor concentration: Depression can make it hard for teens to concentrate on schoolwork or tasks they used to be able to do easily.

Changes in appetite: Teens with depression may lose or gain weight because of changes in their appetite. They may also eat more or less than usual.

Changes in sleep habits: Teens with depression may have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or oversleep.

Thoughts of suicide or self-harm: A teenager who is depressed may have thoughts about harming themselves or even thoughts of suicide.

How Depression In Teens Is Different From Adults?

Depression in teenagers is different from depression in adults. Teens may be more likely to exhibit irritability, anger, and defiance as symptoms of their depression.

They may also have a harder time coping with their emotions and may feel like they are “going crazy”. Additionally, the causes of teen depression can vary from adult depression.

What Are The Common Causes Of Depression In Teenagers?


There are many different causes of depression in teenagers. Some common causes include:

Family history: Teens who have a family history of depression are more likely to develop the condition themselves.

Bullying: Teens who are bullied may be more likely to experience depression.

Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes that occur during puberty can cause teenagers to feel depressed.

Physical health problems: Teens who are dealing with a chronic illness or other physical health problems may be more likely to develop depression.

Drug and alcohol abuse: Teens who use drugs or alcohol may be more likely to develop depression.

Stressful life events: Teens may be more likely to experience depression after a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one or a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

What Are The Negative Consequences Of Depression In Teenagers?

There are many negative consequences of depression in teenagers. Some of the most serious consequences include:

Suicide: Teens with depression are at a higher risk for suicide.

Self-harm: Teens who are depressed may harm themselves, either physically or emotionally.

Academic problems: Depression can cause teens to have academic problems and struggle in school.

Relationship problems: Teens who are depressed may have trouble forming relationships with others and may isolate themselves from friends and family.

Poor physical health: Depression can lead to poor physical health, including problems with digestion, eating disorders, and chronic pain.

What May Be The Positive Outcomes Of Depression In Teens?

Though depression can have many negative consequences, there are also some potential positive outcomes of depression in teenagers. These include:

Getting help early: If a teenager recognizes that they are struggling with depression and gets help early, they may be able to prevent more serious problems from developing.

Improved self-awareness: Depression can cause teens to become more aware of their own thoughts and feelings.

Improved relationships: Teens who are depressed may be able to improve their relationships with others once they get treatment.

Increased creativity: Some teens report that their depression led to increased creativity in writing, art, or music.

Tackling With Teen Depression

child teen depression difference

If you believe your teen is struggling with depression, there are many things you can do to help them.

How Can Parents Help Their Teenager Who Is Struggling With Depression?

There are many ways that parents can help their teenager who is struggling with depression. Some practical tips include:

Encouraging them to seek help: The most important thing a parent can do is encourage their teen to seek professional help.

Offering emotional support: Parents should provide emotional support to their teens and let them know that they are there for them.

Helping them stay connected to friends and family: Parents can help their teens stay connected to their friends and family, who can offer additional support.

Enabling them to continue participating in activities they enjoy: Parents can help their teens maintain activities they enjoy, which can help improve their mood.

Providing a healthy diet: Parents can make sure their teen has a healthy diet and is getting enough sleep.

Encouraging them to exercise: Exercise can be beneficial for people who are struggling with depression.

Monitoring medication use: If a teen is taking medication for depression, parents should monitor how they are taking the medication and discuss any concerns with a doctor.

What Are The Barriers Faced By Parents In Helping Their Teens In Depression?


One of the biggest barriers faced by parents in helping their teens with depression is getting them to admit that they need help. Teens who are depressed often do not want to admit that they have a problem and may try to hide their symptoms from parents and friends.

NOTE: Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of teen depression. So they can identify it early and get their teens the help they need.

What Are Some Therapies That May Be Useful For Teenagers Who Are Struggling With Depression?


Many therapies may be useful for teenagers who are struggling with depression. Some common therapies include:

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps people change the way they think and behave.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT is a type of therapy that helps people work on their relationships with others.

Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that helps people explore their emotions and past experiences.

Supportive Counseling: Supportive counseling is a type of therapy that provides emotional support to people who are struggling with depression.

Family Therapy: Family therapy involves the entire family working together with a therapist to address issues that may be contributing to the teen’s depression.

Talking To a Professional

If you are unsure whether your teen is struggling with depression, or if you would like help addressing the issue, it is important to talk to a professional.

What Are Some Tips For Talking To A Professional About Teen Depression?

If you are worried about your teen and would like to talk to a professional about their depression, there are some things you can do to prepare:

Do your research: Before talking to a professional, it is important to do some research so you have a better understanding of what depression is and what treatment options are available.

Talk to someone you trust: It can be helpful to talk to someone you trust about your concerns before talking to a professional. This person can provide support and help you make decisions.

Write down your questions: It is helpful to write down your questions before talking to a professional so you don’t forget anything.

Be prepared for a long process: Treatment for teen depression can be a long process, and it may take time for your teen to see results. Be patient and stay supportive.

How Can I Find A Therapist Who Specializes In Treating Teenagers Who Are Struggling With Depression?

If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in treating teenagers who are struggling with depression, there are several ways to find one.

Some resources include:

The American Psychological Association (APA): The APA website has a directory of psychologists who specialize in working with teenagers.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI website has a searchable database of mental health professionals who specialize in various areas, including treatment for teenage depression.

Expert Advice On Teen Depression


Expert advice on teen depression can be helpful for parents who are struggling to support their teens. According to experts, one of the biggest mistakes parents can make is trying to fix everything for their teenagers. This can have the opposite effect and make them feel more helpless. Rather, parents should offer support and stay positive.

Case Study

Lily’s Story

Lily was a 15-year-old girl who struggled with depression for several years. She had difficulty in school and relationships with her peers. Her parents tried to help her, but they didn’t know how to make things better.

After trying a variety of therapies, including CBT, IPT, and family therapy, Lily finally started to feel better. Her parents learned about depression and how to support her through the process.

Movies And Books About Teen Depression

Several movies and books deal with teenage depression. Some of these resources can be helpful for teens who are struggling with depression. Some helpful titles include:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • 13 Reasons Why
  • Angels in the Snow

How Movies And Books Can Help?

Movies and books about teenage depression can be helpful for teens who are struggling with the condition. They can provide a way to connect with other people who have gone through similar experiences, and they can offer hope that things will get better.

It is important to remember that not all movies or books are appropriate for all audiences, so it is important to talk to your teen about any titles they are interested in before allowing them to watch or read them.


Depression in teenagers can be a difficult issue to deal with, but there are many resources available to help. Parents should stay supportive and involved in their teen’s treatment process, and if necessary, seek professional help. Many therapies may be useful for teenagers who are struggling with depression, and talking to a professional can be a helpful way to get started. Furthermore reading and educating yourself on how to help a teenager with depression can be useful.

A Word From Therapy Mantra

Your mental health — Your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At TherapyMantra, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, workplace Issues, addiction, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.