Youth Depression

Today, I want to share about a common issue that I encounter at Panoramic Counseling: depressed tweens and teens. I’ll include insights from a recent Psychology Today article titled, Why Kids’ Depression Goes Unnoticed by Dr. Alison Escalante. 

I found it interesting that the research supports that youth depression often goes unnoticed by parents, teachers, and peers.  

“Many children– for a variety of reasons– work to minimize or conceal entirely their despair. But with depression and suicide on the rise in children, the recognition of the disorder has become a matter of urgency. 

Survey research found that 1/4 youths knew of a peer with depression and 1/10 of them knew someone that had committed suicide. 

In my work as a therapist, I usually assess for depression after a parent brings their child in for behavioral or academic issues.

Here are some symptoms to look for: 

  • Sadness 
  • Crying spells 
  • Sleeping difficulties  
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed 
  • Withdrawing from friends 
  • Isolation 
  • Irritability 
  • Anger 
  • Behavior problems 
  • Academic challenges 
  • Suicidal thoughts 

What I found most interesting about the article were the reasons youths gave for not reaching out to trusted adults when depressed: 

  • They feel that the adults in their life don’t listen. 
  • They’ve experienced adults trying to rush in and fix their problems for them. 
  • They’ve had experiences where an adult will brush off their concerns, stating things like, “It’ll pass. This is temporary.” 
  • Kids sometimes feel that they will burden the adults in their life if they reach out for help, so they forgo their needs to protect the adults. 

What can parents do to help? 

  • Check-in with your child. I can assure you, addressing topics like “depression” and “suicide” won’t make them more depressed or suicidal. 
  • Talk to their primary care physician about medication. 
  • Schedule them an appointment with a therapist. 

For more about the diagnostic criteria of Major Depressive Disorder, click here.

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