What Should You Know About Adolescents and Depression?

Here is some information and facts about adolescents and depression that you might want to know for yourself and/or for your adolescent at home:

  • Depression was an adult disease that is now becoming more prevalent with teenagers
  • Stigma: in one case in the article, the doctors urged the parents to keep the episode in which their child attempted suicide, a secret
  • 3 million adolescents struggle with depression and never get help because of: 1. prejudice about mental illness, 2. inadequate mental-health resources, 3. widespread ignorance about how emotional problems can wreck lives
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 8 percent of adolescents and 2 percent of children (some as young as 4) have symptoms of depression
  • Some refer the early onset as an “epidemic”
  • Some researchers believe the stress of high divorce rate, academic expectations and social pressure cause the increase in depression
  • Without help, depressed adolescents are at high risk for school failure, social isolation, promiscuity, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, and suicide
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year olds
  • There is worry about the affect medications have on young children
  • It is hard to detect depression in some adolescents due to normal fluctuations in mood
  • There may be a genetic predisposition to depression
  • Negative experiences increases risk of depression that includes growing up in an abusive home, and witnessing violence
  • Centers for Disease Control found that 19 percent of high school students had suicidal thoughts and more than 2 million of them actually began planning to take their own lives

Source: Young and Depressed, Wingert, P. & Kantrowitz, B., Newsweek, 10/7/04, 53-61