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Helping Your Teen Deal With Depression

Depression can affect a teen mentally, physically, and spiritually. In a world where suicide is the third leading cause of teen deaths, it’s important to take the mental health of teens seriously ( In some cases, medication is necessary to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain. Studies show individuals who pair medication with counseling often find more success in treating their depression than those who use one form of treatment ( In order to seek help for your teens, it’s important to know how to identify their depression. 

Signs of depression in teenagers

While teenage depression can look different for each individual, here are some indications your child may be experiencing depression:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Drop in grades
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in general activities 
  • Loss of appetite/weight
  • Icreased appetite/weight gain
  • Perpetuating feelings of sadness
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss of sleep
  • Hopelessness
  • Self-harm or suicidal ideation
  • Isolation
  • Anger outbursts
  • Low self-esteem
  • Excessive worry

This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, but it can give some areas for concern regarding your child’s mental health. Do not hesitate to seek help if you begin to observe these behaviors in your child.

Important tools to help teens through a difficult season

In addition to counseling and medication, it can be helpful to know tools your teen can begin using at home to help cope with their depression. 


Journaling is a great tool for teens who are struggling with depression. Journaling provides an outlet for individuals to ventilate and process their thoughts when other individuals are not present. Teen journaling doesn’t have to just include writing. It can also include drawing or coloring things that represent how they are feeling. This can also be a great tool to identify negative thought processes; as an individual displays their thoughts on a page, their brains can input their words as new information and identify undesirable language more easily. 

Baby Steps

Often teens who are experiencing depression lack motivation to do daily tasks. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed just with self-care tasks. Breaking normal tasks into smaller steps can make them more achievable and less stressful. If a teen is unsure how to remember these small steps, you can help them create visual reminders. An example of this would be placing sticky notes around their living spaces to remind them of what steps to take. This is not a forever goal, but it supports them in taking steps forward until they are able to build their motivation. 

Support, support, support

Teens who are struggling with depression are prone to isolate themselves. This is a coping mechanism to prevent hurt while they are in an emotionally vulnerable place. Unfortunately, Satan uses isolation to speak lies to the wounded soul with no objections. It is important to build up your depressed teen’s support system to provide safe spaces for them to turn. The more healthy and safe adults that are consistently present for your child, the more likely they are to find emotional health. 

Know the truth of the gospel

Teenage depression creates a thick fog of hopelessness. In the midst of anguish, knowing the Good News of Christ can make all of the difference. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). This truth brings hope because it has nothing to do with us. We know we are in debt to God in our sinful conditions. There is nothing we can do to be worthy of His love. But God. He knows our condition and destiny to be separated from Him for all eternity. He made a way for us to be in right standing with Him through Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross and His resurrection, “that all who may believe in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s perfect love brings hope to teens  hurting because they can receive it freely, exactly where they are. 

You’re not alone

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you realize your teen is showing signs of depression. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them or that you are failing as a parent. Contact us today.

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