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Understanding Teen Depression & Suicide

Healthy Living


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Did you know? Approximately 20% of teens will experience depression before they become adults. 14% of teens have experienced depression in the last 12 months and of those affected by depression, 80% have never received help. 

Causes of Teen Depression. Depression is defined as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Teenage depression can be caused by several things including bullying, relationship problems, academic problems, and poor self-esteem. Signs of depression include a change in appetite, prolonged anger or frustration, withdrawal from activities, and increased thoughts or reference to death or suicide. 

Risks & Signs of Teen Suicide. The risk for teen suicide varies with age, gender, and cultural and social influences. Some factors include one or more mental or substance abuse problems, impulsive behaviors, undesirable life events such as being bullied, or a recent loss such as the death of a parent. Another risk is a family history of mental or substance abuse problems or suicide. Many of the warning signs of suicide are the same for depression. Warning signs include stating “I want to kill myself,” or “I won’t be a problem much longer” as well as giving away important belongings or expressing strange thoughts. 

Ways to Alleviate Teen Depression & Prevent Suicide. Take time to listen to your teenager’s concerns. Remember that just because it’s not a big deal to you doesn’t mean it’s not a concern to them. When disciplining your teen, replace shame and punishment with positive reinforcement for good behavior. By listening to your teen instead of telling them what to do; you may discover the root of the problem. Make sure your child knows you care and will always be there to discuss their problems. Teen depression tends to come and go in episodes. Once a teenager has a bout of depression, they are likely to get depressed again at some point. The consequence of letting teen depression go untreated can lead to extreme and serious consequences that could be deadly. 

Together, we can make sure our teens have the proper tools and ability to beat depression. If your teen is exhibiting signs of depression, call our Parent Talk line at 205-605-1827. If your teen is exhibiting signs of self-harm, call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255. Learn more at †

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