Signs and Symptoms of Youth Depression for Parents

In today’s youth, depression is the number one mental illness issue. 20% of teens will experience depression in some form before reaching adulthood. Among those teens with depression, 20-40% will see a reoccurrence  with depression within two years, while 70% will experience depression multiple times before adulthood. A study by the CDC in article by New York Daily News in June of 2012, revealed that 1 in 6 teens think about suicide, while 1 in 12 have actually attempted to commit suicide. Obviously, these numbers are staggering, even more so when considering that many parents underestimate their childs depression until it is too late.  As a parent, or any adult who works with youth, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of youth depression, so that teens can be helped before suicide becomes an option.

The following information is taken from Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH): Office of Suicide Prevention.

Symptoms of Teen Depression

Does your child express any of the following emotions? Does your child complain about any physical changes?
  • not happy when doing pleasurable things
  • emotionally drained
  • general sadness
  • hopelessness
  • hollowness
  • uselessness
  • upset stomach
  • change in appetite and/or body weight
  • lethargic
  • sleeplessness
  • headaches
  • joint or back pain
Is your child experiencing any behavioral problems? Is your child demonstrating cognitive difficulties with:
  • easily irritated
  • uncooperative
  • disagreeable
  • avoiding social interaction
  • avoiding or skipping school
  • abusing drugs and/or alcohol
  • focusing
  • finishing tasks
  • performing consistently in school
  • making decisions

If your teen is exhibiting these symptoms, and they have been for a while, it may be important to also notice potential warning signs for suicide.

  • Sadness (with or without crying)
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy and/or motivation
  • Temper outbursts and/or violent episodes
  • Easily irritated
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Little or no appetite, or eating too often
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed (including school activities)
  • Feelings of fear (even if there is no conscious reason)
  • Feelings of extreme guilt or shame
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor memory
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Worsening grades
  • Skipping school or classes
  • Self-critical remarks
  • Feelings of helplessness to change a situation*
  • Feelings that things will never get better*
  • Comment(s) about death or dying*
  • Writing, drawing, or listening to music about hopelessness, guns, or death*
  • Threatening suicide (even in a joking manner)*

*Please seek immediate medical attention if your teen exhibits any of these symptoms.

If you are seeking to hurt yourself, or know somebody who is, you reach out to these resources for help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Open 24/7
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides support to people who need help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, loneliness, and support.
Click Here to learn more about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Alex Project: Text LISTEN to 741741
Open 24/7
Click Here to learn more about the Alex Project

The Northern Valley Talk Line: 1-855-582-5554
Open 4:30pm-9:30pm, 7 days a week
Based on the Recovery Model, the Northern Valley Talk Line (NVTL) provides non-crisis peer to peer telephone service to the community.
Click here to learn more about the Northern Valley Talk Line

Butte County Crisis Center: 800-334-6622 or 530-891-2810
Open 24/7
Click Here to learn more about the Butte County Crisis Center

The Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386
Open 24/7
The Trevor Lifeline connects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) young persons to a suicide prevention and counseling phone line with access to trained counselors
Click Here to learn more about the Trevor Lifeline

The Friendship Line: 800-971-0016
Open 24/7
The Friendship Line for Older Adults, Ages 60+ or Family and Friends. A crisis intervention, support, and resource line for older adults.
Click Here to learn more about the Friendship Line