Depression is a treatable mental health condition; unfortunately, well under half of American adolescents who have been diagnosed with depression are receiving professional treatment. And when left untreated, the consequences can be extremely serious. Some of these negative outcomes are social impairment, long-term effects on cognitive development, and general life dissatisfaction. Teens who do not receive proper treatment for their depression are also at a much greater risk of recurring symptoms later in life. The good news is depression is treatable!

Is My Adolescent Depressed?

The symptoms of depression are often difficult for parents to identify. At times, depression is confused with the typical feelings and emotions associated with going through puberty and adjusting to being a teenager. However, depression is much more serious than  appearing bored and irritable.

Some signs of adolescent depression include:

  • Expressing emotions of sadness
  • Unhealthy changes in weight and/or diet
  • Decreased interest in activities your teen once enjoyed
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or self-remorse
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mentions suicide in conversation
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or other activities
  • Significant decrease in academic performance
girl sitting with laptop

How Does Counseling Help?

At Suffolk Counseling Services, our licensed mental health counselors can diagnose depression. We also have a trusted network of medical professionals to refer you to or we can collaborate with your current doctor. Talk therapy is the most common type of therapy and includes regular sessions with one of our licensed therapists. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used to reframe thought patterns in order to replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones.

Our therapists also teach adolescents to separate realistic thoughts from unrealistic ones, and we encourage them to practice what is learned in therapy outside of the office. During parent meetings, our therapists will work with you to ensure progress is being made at home and in school, and we can also give advice on how your family can effectively manage your  teenager’s symptoms.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255)

This 24-hour suicide prevention helpline specializes in handling all situations related to suicide and emotional distress

The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386

A 24-hour depression hotline for suicidal LGBTQ youth.

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

This 24/7 crisis text line for anyone in crisis connects you with a trained counselor via text.

National Hopeline Network: (800) 442-HOPE (4673)

This 24-hour depression hotline is for people who are depressed and thinking about suicide. When you call, you will be connected with a crisis hotline volunteer.