Teen Depression (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What can family members and friends do to help a depressed teen?

Family members and friends are advised to seek and encourage the depressed teen to receive mental-health evaluation and treatment. Family members may consult with the teen's primary-care doctor or seek mental-health services by contacting one of the resources identified below. Friends of the depression sufferer sometimes think that they would be betraying their friend's confidence by notifying the depressed teen's parents, teachers, school counselor, or other school personnel about their friend's troubles. The potential risk of their friend's sadness worsening and even ending in suicide or homicide far outweighs the risk of the depressed teen feeling betrayed.

Once the depressed youth is in treatment, family members can help encourage good mental health by gently encouraging him or her to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Examples of that include encouraging the teen to maintain a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, participate in regular exercise, and engage in appropriate stress-management activities. Friends can encourage the depressed peer to remain socially active rather than becoming isolated. Both family and friends can be helpful to the depressed teen by discouraging their loved one from using alcohol or other drugs or otherwise engaging in risky behaviors.

Where can teens get support for depression?

American Association of Suicidology

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Community Awareness and Support Center (support for people affected by murder-suicide)

Jason Foundation

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
2101 Wilson Boulevard Suite 302
Arlington, VA 22201
HelpLine: 800-950-NAMI [6264]

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention http://www.mentalhealth.org/suicideprevention/

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

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

National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
866-SAFEYOUTH (1-866-723-3968)
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern time

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) http://www.samhsa.gov

Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network (Span)

Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program


American Psychiatric Association. Treatment of patients with major depressive disorder, third edition. American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines; November 2010.

Bhatia SK, Bhatia SC. Childhood and adolescent depression. American Family Physician 2007 January; 75(1): 73-80.

Church D, De Asis MA, Brooks AJ. Brief group intervention using emotional freedom techniques for depression in college students: a randomized controlled trial. Depression Research and Treatment 2012.

Clark MS, Jansen KL, Cloy JA. Treatment of childhood and adolescent depression. American Family Physician 2012; 85(5): 442-448.

Derouin A, Bravender T. Living on the edge: the current phenomenon of self-mutilation in adolescents. American Journal of Maternal and Child Nursing 2004 January/February; 29(1): 12-18.

Duckworth K, Gruttadaro D, Markay D. A Family Guide: What Families Need to Know About Adolescent Depression, second edition. National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 2010.

Gladstone TRG, Beardslee WR, O'Connor EE. The prevention of adolescent depression. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2011 March; 34(1): 35-52.

Jackson PS, Peterson J. Depressive disorder in highly gifted adolescents. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education 2004; 14(3): 175-186.

Jaycox LH, Stein BD, Paddock S, et al. Impact of teen depression on academic, social and physical functioning. Pediatrics 2009 October; 124(4): e596-605.

Kostenuik M. Approach to adolescent suicide prevention. Canadian Family Physician 2010 August; 56(8): 755-760.

Spirito A, Esposito-Smythers C, Wolff J, Uhl K. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescent depression and suicidality. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2011 April; 20(2): 191–204.

Ueno K. Mental health differences between young adults with and without same-sex contact: a simultaneous examination of underlying mechanisms. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2010 December; 51(4): 391-407.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2013