Teenagers and depression

Like an adult with depression, if you are a teenager with depression you have had a change in mood that persists and affects your everyday life. You might feel down, grumpy or irritable, and maybe you don’t enjoy doing the things you used to like doing. You might feel hopeless and that you are no good at anything, and that things are your fault when they aren’t.

Other signs, on top of your mood changes, can include:

  • not wanting to see your friends and family
  • feeling irritable or angry
  • having low energy
  • feeling like you can't be bothered doing anything
  • sleep problems (not being able to sleep at night or feeling sleepy in the day)
  • weight loss or gain
  • trouble concentrating.

Urgent help

If you feel like life is not worth living, or you are thinking of hurting yourself, you need help right now. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Treatment

Teenager being counselled

Psychological therapy is the main treatment for depressed adolescents.
Image: Lisa F Young/Shutterstock.com

Psychological therapies are the mainstay of treatment for adolescents with depression. This may include supportive counselling or help with specific problems (e.g. abuse, grief and problems with family relationships, school or friends). Psychological therapies should be given by trained adolescent mental health professionals.

Cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal or family therapy may be helpful for teenagers.

Antidepressants and suicide risk

Studies of children and adolescents have shown there may be a small increase in the risk of suicidal thinking and/or behaviour with antidepressants (mainly SSRIs). Antidepressants have only a small role in treating children and adolescents, and they should only be used under the supervision of a child psychiatrist or adolescent psychiatrist.

Useful links:

For more resources for adolescents with depression, see

For more information

References