If you or a loved one struggles with depression, it’s common to feel alone. Depression is more than just sadness and can affect many different aspects of everyday life. Sharing the experience of depression is difficult, particularly with friends and family. It is important to remember that you are not alone — critically, 1 in 3 high school students report feeling so sad or hopeless that they stop their everyday activities.
Living with depression requires patience and persistence. Some days are more challenging than others. It’s essential to be able to recognize the signs of depressive episodes and find appropriate coping strategies that work for you. Everyone’s experience with depression is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all cure. Navigating how and when to seek professional help can be one of the most challenging aspects of depression. While online resources are helpful tools, it’s important to talk to a professional if the symptoms become more frequent or severe.
Signs of teen depression
● Lack of interest in social activities
● Withdrawal from friends and family
● Abnormal sleep patterns or lack of sleep
● Fatigue throughout the day
● Heightened sensitivity and irritability
● Unexplained pains such as constant headaches
● Unusual or inconsistent eating patterns
● Turning to drugs or alcohol
● Negative thinking
● Feeling hopeless
Coping with depression
● Try getting as much exercise throughout the day as possible. It’s important to get outside, even if it’s only for a short walk.
● Write down how you’re feeling. Journaling can be very therapeutic and help you to keep track of your feelings and better understand your depression.
● Listen to music that you love. Music is a powerful outlet that helps distract from whatever you are struggling with and boost your mood.
● Try not to isolate yourself. As much as possible, it’s important to maintain relationships with your friends and family.
● Take a break from social media. We all love social media, but it’s important to take time away from your computer or phone as it may be contributing to your symptoms.
● Don’t be hard on yourself. Understand that coping with depression is difficult and takes time. Any kind of progress, no matter how big or small, is an accomplishment you should be proud of.
● Seek additional support. You are not alone in this battle and professional help can be an essential component of your healing journey.
How parents can help to support their child with depression
● Validate their feelings. It’s important to reassure your child that depression is real, and they are not alone.
● Listen to how they are feeling. It’s important that your teen feels heard. Avoid lecturing them on their behaviors or attitudes.
● Avoid judgment or criticism—someone coping with depression is already feeling internal criticism. Help your teen through positive encouragement.
● Support your teen in seeking help. Your teen may require professional support, but they might not have the tools or knowledge to seek professional guidance.
● Stick with it. Coping with depression is difficult, and your teen cannot heal overnight. You may have to approach and support them in different ways before finding one that works for your family.
These tips and signs are not exhaustive of how depression may be affecting you or your loved ones. Everyone’s struggle with depression is unique and it’s important to know that what may work for one person, may not for another.
If you or your loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, don’t wait. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You are not alone. At Charlie Health, we are here to support you through whatever you or your loved one is struggling with. Our team of professionals will gladly help you navigate available resources and walk you through our treatment programs.