5 Things to Do If You Think a Teenager is Depressed
In the previous post we looked at what constitutes depression and what some of the key indicators that suggest a teen may be depressed.In this post we will discuss 5 things you can do if you think a teenager may be depressed.
A great start is to try and talk to them about how they are feeling. While this may not always be easy, particularly if the teen is depressed, trying to make a concerted effort to engage in conversation is well worth it. Hearing from a teenager in their own words about what is happening in their life will better enable you to effectively gauge and put into context the behaviours that have been concerning you.
Remember the Key Indicators
When talking to your teenager have in mind the signs of depression mentioned in our previous post on teenage depression. If they are not forth coming with information ask specific questions that are related to the key indicators of depression.
Encourage them to Talk to another Trusted Adult
If you are a parent there may occasions when a teenager may not be able to talk to you for various reasons, like if they feel you are part of the problem. In these cases encourage them to talk to another adult who they trust. Often just by talking about something with an adult can relive a lot of anxiety and stress for a teenager and the depressive symptoms may diminish.
Consult Your Doctor
If through observation and conversation over a period of time you are concerned that your teenager might be depressed, and not just disappointed or sad about something, then the first place to start with your local doctor. Again it may not always be easy to get your teenager to go the doctor, but if you genuinely concerned then seeking medical help is essential. Be prepared to allow the teen to talk to the doctor in private if that will enable them to be forthcoming about what they are experiencing and feeling and hence provide a more accurate diagnosis.
A good doctor should be able to advise on multiple treatments form medication through to life style factors.
Further Professional Help
Sometimes the depressed teenager requires more than just medication and a healthier lifestyle. There are times when depression is a symptom of other psychological or emotional issues. While medication can alleviate the symptoms of depression and enable the individual to cope better, it may not always fix the underlying cause. In these circumstances talking with a trained professional such as a psychologist or counsellor can provide important assistance.
Of course in all these type of matters, if in doubt seek professional advice.
In our next post we will look briefly at possible causes of depression amongst teenagers.