MARYLAND, ( WDVM ) — According to the CDC, approximately 1.9 million teenagers have been diagnosed with depression.
The pandemic may exacerbate depresson in teens and specialists say it’s important that parents can identify the signs.
Teens already battle a lot, emotionally and physically, as they mature and face societal pressures.
Teens are increasingly isolated as the pandemic disrupts daily activities that would otherwise combat depression.
It is important that caregivers pay attention to the signs and communicate with your teenager.
“Classic signs of depression are appearing sad, tearful, and having a low mood, but one of the symptoms that you’ll often see a lot of the times in teenagers, especially boys is irritability. Being grumpy or lashing out, that would be a particularly unique sign among teenagers that tends to happen more among that age group than adults,” said Mental & Behavioral Health Specialist Dr. Alexander Chan of the University of Maryland Extension.
According to nyulangone.org, teens are often reluctant to discuss difficult personal topics with their parents. When thinking about how to approach this topic with your teen, you should consider the following:
- Chose the right time. Know how to pick your opportunities. Do not try to engage them in this conversation immediately after an argument or disagreement, or when they are in the middle of a fun task.
- Stick to the facts. You cannot know what is going on inside your teen’s mind. Let them know specifically what behaviors you find concerning, and ask if they have noticed those behaviors as well.
- Validate. Let your teen know that you can see how hard things have been for them lately. Express that you care about them and their wellbeing.
- Self-disclose. If you have ever experienced depression or know someone who has, sharing this can be a really powerful tool in this conversation. Let them know what it was like for you, or what you know about how it was for the other person, and what helped.
If you do recognize signs of depression and you need assistance, reach out to “2-1-1 Maryland” online or by phone. The confidential statewide resource connects individuals with professionals.