Helping Teens with Depression

Helping Teens with Depression


Helping Teens with Depression

Mental health issues among young people have been steadily increasing for the past decade, according to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

In fact, in a CDC study from 2019, 37% of high school students said they had experienced such persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year that they couldn’t participate in their regular activities. And from that same study, about 1 in 6 students reported making a suicide plan in the past year.

While youth mental health issues were already on the rise pre-pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the stressors that young people were already feeling.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to know the signs of depression in teens – including recognizing red flags around emotional and behavioral changes – and knowing how to help.

Trained, caring staff at Boys & Girls Clubs establish trusting relationships and open dialogues that assist staff and youth in recognizing changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors, as well as knowing when to get help.

Here are some ways to support youth in talking about their mental health and opening up about depression:


Helping Teens with Depression

    • Create an open dialogue around emotions, thoughts and mental health.
      When it comes to youth mental health, it is important to normalize an open, supportive and nonjudgmental dialogue with your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings. This level of conversation and trust is built over time and will ensure your teen feels comfortable coming to you when they’re feeling overwhelmed, sad or depressed.


    • Know the signs of depression in teens.
      It is typical for teens to have ups and downs – it’s good to be aware of when they’re going through a hard time or experiencing stress from major life changes, such as puberty and bodily changes, dating, fear of the future, self-esteem, etc. But depression is the persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities, which can interfere with eating, sleeping, participation, etc. Read and get familiar with the signs of teenage depression so you know when to elevate your concerns.


  • Talk to a healthcare provider.
    Reach out to your teen’s family doctor or pediatrician and get their recommendation for a mental health professional trained to work with young people. A child in crisis deserves immediate help and support so they can return to enjoying their childhood to the fullest.


Getting Emergency Help

Depression doesn’t always lead to suicide ideation or attempts, but if you think your teen may hurt themselves or attempt suicide, seek help immediately. You can call the free, confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time.

Click here to read more guidance for communicating with someone who may be suicidal.


Story from Boys & Girls Clubs of America