Is your child’s behavior becoming more difficult to manage? More disrespectful, oppositional, impulsive or destructive?
Does your child/teen care less about school or has their performance declined?
Does your child/teen complain of physical aches & pains that have no medical cause? Are there too many “sick” days from school?
Is your child afraid to sleep in their own bed? Overly dependent or clingy?
Does your teen spend too much time in his/her bedroom, isolating from friends & family?
Is your child or teen excessively irritable, sullen or argumentative?
Do you suspect drug or alcohol use?
We usually equate depression with sadness, crying bouts, and lethargy. However, depression looks differently with this age group than it does in adults because it comes out as more irritation, annoyance, or unhappiness. Unfortunately, adults tend to label adolescent mood swings or angry outbursts as “teen drama” or chalk it up to changing hormones. Parents mistakenly believe that these “signs” are proof that a child is being a “behavior problem,” or a typical snarky teenager, rather than having depression. In some cases, parents may impose more restrictions on their child hoping that he/she will be motivated to shape up. These are serious signs that every parent needs to pay attention to because these symptoms can lead to serious long-term physical and psychological problems. Asking your child how they are feeling and why, in a calm, empathic manner can help you child feel cared for and supported. If you want some tips on how to open the communication with your teen check out my blog post “Peeling the Onion.” If you have concerns that your child’s blue mood is not passing (within 2 weeks) you should seek professional help to determine the seriousness of the problem and get help in treating it! Depression is a highly treatable mental health disorder for adults and children/teens alike. Don’t wait your child/teen’s life could depend on it!
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1(800) 273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day.