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Counseling for Adolescents with Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, adolescent depression is treatable, though only 30 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are receiving proper treatment. The consequences of untreated depression in adolescents can be very serious. Depression among young people is associated with a wide range of negative outcomes including but not limed to severe social impairment, long-lasting effects on cognitive development, suicidal behavior, and a high risk of recurrence. According to studies, about 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood, and between 10 to 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time.

depressed teen

How Do I Know If My Adolescent Is Depressed?

The symptoms of depression can often be difficult for parents to identify. Sometimes, depression is confused with the typical feelings of puberty and teenage adjustment. However, depression is more than just boredom and irritability. The ADAA lists some signs of adolescent depression to include:

  • Appearing sad, irritable, or tearful
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • A decreased interest in activities your child one found pleasurable
  • A decrease in energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Substance use
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Major changes in sleeping habits
  • Regular complains of boredom
  • Talk of suicide
  • Withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
  • Worsening school performance

How Will Counseling Help?

It is recommended that a psychiatrist or psychologist perform a psychological evaluation in order to properly diagnose depression. Talk therapy is the most common type of therapy and includes regular sessions with a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is guided to replace negative thoughts and emotions with good ones. Your adolescent will learn to identify and replace negative thinking patterns with positive ones. They will also learn to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts and will “practice” what is learned in therapy outside of the therapist office. Using parent meetings, a therapist can work with you to ensure progress is made at home and in school, and he or she can give advice on how the entire family can best manage your adolescent’s symptoms.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-TALK (8255)

This 24-hour suicide prevention helpline specializes in handling all situations related to suicide and emotional distress

The Trevor Project – (866) 488-7386

A 24-hour depression hotline for suicidal LGBTQ youth.

Crisis Text Line – Text “DBSA” to 741741

This 24/7 crisis text line for anyone in crisis connects you with a trained counselor via text.

National Hopeline Network – (800) 442-4673

This 24-hour depression hotline is for people who are depressed and thinking about suicide. When you call, you will be connected with a crisis hotline volunteer.


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