Learn about depression in teens, identify signs and find resources

In today's modern and fast-paced society, teen depression is becoming an increasingly alarming issue. Our latest episode of the College & Career Ready Podcast explores the often misunderstood world of teen depression, aiming to equip parents and educators with knowledge and resources for early detection and intervention.

Listen to the episode now: 

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Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents worldwide. In the United States alone, approximately 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2020. These staggering numbers highlight the urgent need for effective screening and support mechanisms for our teens.

To effectively address teen depression, we must first understand what it is and how it manifests in teenagers. Teen depression is not just a phase or a simple case of the "blues." It's a serious medical condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities that the teenager used to love.

Causes of teen depression are multi-faceted and can include genetic factors, chemical imbalances in the brain, traumatic experiences, and environmental stressors. It is essential to remember that depression is not the fault of the individual experiencing it. It's a complex interplay of various factors that require professional help and understanding from loved ones.

Early detection of teen depression is critical for several reasons. Many teenagers suffering from depression may try to hide their feelings or dismiss them as normal adolescent mood swings. This can lead to prolonged suffering and hinder their academic, social, and personal development. If depression is untreated, it can have long-lasting effects on their self-esteem, academic performance, and relationships.

Fortunately, there are reliable tools and methods available for screening depression in teenagers. Mental health professionals often use standardized questionnaires to assess teen depression. These questionnaires can help identify common symptoms and gauge the severity of the condition. Additionally, many schools are implementing mental health programs that include depression screening as part of their student wellness initiatives.

While professionals play a crucial role in depression screening, parents and educators can also make a significant impact. By recognizing the signs, initiating conversations, and utilizing professional resources, they can help their teens get the support they need. Encouraging open and non-judgmental communication with teenagers is key. Letting them know that they are heard, and their feelings are valid is crucial in their journey to recovery.

The conversation surrounding teen depression is not one to shy away from. As parents and educators, we must arm ourselves with knowledge and resources to facilitate early detection, intervention, and create a supportive environment for our teens. Remember, there is hope, and recovery is possible. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of teenagers.

Episode to #7: A Conversation on Children's Mental Health with Licensed Psychologist - Dr. Gushanas 

Here are some of the resources Dr. G shared with us on that episode:
Child Mind Institute: My favorite mental health resource for parents and youth: childmind.org (has articles in Spanish too)
Galveston County Suicide Prevention Coalition- open to anyone to be a member: https://galvestoncountyspc.wixsite.com/gcspc & on Twitter: @gcspctx 
- There are a ton of good resources listed there on the "Get Help" page, but my favorite for parents is: Parent Guide to Suicide
For Texas: TCHATT telehealth services- Statewide initiative as part of the Texas Child Mental Healthcare Consortium. Available through most public schools already, or coming soon if not yet: find out more TCHATT - Texas School Mental Health (schoolmentalhealthtx.org)
Connect with Sonia Cacique
Email: info@collegecareerready.org
Website: CollegeCareerReady.org
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Keep dreaming, stay present, and stay well, my friend. Remember, together we can achieve anything.

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