depressed teen boyDepression in teenagers is rising at alarming rates: between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of 12-17 year-olds with depression increased from 8.2% to 11.4%.

Why is this a concern?

  • Only 38% of males and 42% of females in this age group who reported experiencing a major depressive episode are getting treatment
  • Suicide remains the 2nd leading cause of death among youth aged 15-24.

We don’t know exactly why depression is becoming more widespread in this age group. It could be social media, fewer coping and problem-solving skills, bullying, poor sleep, relational difficulties, genetics, or a combination of these or even something else. Regardless of the cause, we must respond now – before depression becomes debilitating or even deadly.

At Families for Depression Awareness, we often hear from high school administrators seeking information and training in response to increased depression among – and even suicide of – students in their district.

Despite the fact that depression is treatable, many teenagers don’t get the help they need. Although there are exceptions, most teenagers don’t seek help for themselves without the intervention of a caring adult. This is why we believe that anyone who interacts with youth must know the signs of depression in teens so that they can recognize it, respond to it, and help them get care.

If you work with teens, here are some things you can do:

  • View our free Teen Depression webinar
    You’ll hear from a young adult and parent who have been working through teen depression, another parent who lost a teen to suicide, and a clinician who specializes in the treatment of teen depression. You’ll learn how to recognize and respond to teen depression.
  • Schedule a Teen Depression Workshop or Teen Speakers event for your group (available in Massachusetts only)
  • Order Depression and Bipolar Wellness Guides
    Help teens and parents keep track of depression and treatment progress; available in English or Spanish.

We know that more and more teens are struggling with depression and that too many are taking their own lives. We’re working to empower caring adults to help. Will you join us?

Data from SAMHSA, National Survey on Drug Use and Health.