Depression in teens: The signs, causes and how to help

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Depression is a common mental health issue among teenagers that can manifest in various ways and be caused by multiple factors. It is a complex illness that can result from genetics, life experiences, and hormonal changes. In teens, depression can be particularly challenging, as they may be experiencing a range of changes and pressures, including academic stress, social pressures, and changes in their body and mind.

However, if identified early and addressed promptly, depression can be managed effectively. Here’s what you need to know about depression in teens:

How do you recognize depression in teens? 

The signs of depression in teens may include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Teens may also engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or self-harm.

What are the causes of depression in teens?

The causes of depression in teens can be varied, including genetic factors, family history of mental illness, traumatic life experiences, social isolation, and academic or peer pressure. Hormonal changes during puberty may also play a role in the onset of depression.

How to help a depressed teen? 

If you suspect that a teenager is struggling with depression, seek professional help immediately. A mental health professional can evaluate the teen and determine the best course of treatment, which may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. As a parent or caregiver, you can provide emotional support, encourage open communication, and help the teen maintain a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity and eating a nutritious diet.

To help a depressed teen, you can take the following steps:

  • Recognize the signs of depression
  • Encourage open communication
  • Seek professional help
  • Encourage self-care
  • Provide emotional support
  • Monitor progress and follow up regularly

Now, here we shall discuss these steps more in-depth. 

  1. Recognize the signs: Be aware of the warning signs of depression in teens, which can vary from individual to individual. Common signs include a persistent sad or irritable mood, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide.
  2. Talk to the teen: Approach the teen with sensitivity and compassion, and express your concern about their well-being. Encourage them to open up about their feelings and listen actively without judgment. Remember that teens may be hesitant to discuss their problems, so it’s important to create a safe and supportive environment for them to open up.
  3. Seek professional help: Depression can be a serious illness, and it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can evaluate the teen’s symptoms and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment may involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.
  4. Encourage self-care: A healthy lifestyle can help manage depression symptoms. Encourage the teen to engage in physical activity, eat a nutritious diet, and get enough sleep. Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, or spending time with friends.
  5. Support and follow-up: Let the teen know that you are there for them and support their efforts to manage their depression. Follow up regularly to monitor their progress and make sure they continue to receive the support they need.


Depression in teens is a serious issue that requires prompt attention. It’s important to approach the topic of depression with sensitivity and compassion and to create a safe and supportive environment for teens to open up. By recognizing the signs of depression, seeking professional help, and providing emotional support, parents and caregivers can help teens manage their depression and achieve a healthy, fulfilling life. 

Jacob Boyle serves as CEO and CTO of MARCo Technologies. As CEO, his primary functions include defining the company direction, managing contractors and employees, and spearheading outreach and customer discovery. As CTO, he has handled the development of MARCo, having designed and produced the existing MARCo units; coordinate with manufacturers; develop software for the online edition; and oversee continued R&D. He also served as the Technical Lead in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps accelerator program on behalf of the company.

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