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Mental Health Awareness by ALC/BCC Emmanuel Rock: Signs of Depression to Look for in Your Teenager

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

By: Emmanuel L. Rock, MS, ALC, NCC

Associate Licensed Counselor/Board Certified Counselor

Weiss Lake Counseling Services, Mental Health Service

839 West Main Street, Centre, AL


You can ask any parent what their most significant job is in this world, and they will

respond by protecting their child. But as your children get older, you need to adapt to

their changing needs. For example, learning how to spot the signs of depression in a

teenager is a skill that parents should possess. Suicide rates are on the rise, the

COVID-19 pandemic is spreading, and teenagers have been isolated from the real

world because of a virtual world that is rapidly changing.

No matter how much parents work to keep their kids safe, it’s almost impossible to

protect children against mental health issues such as depression. If you want to know

how to recognize the signs of depression, here are a few to understand.

- Mood Swings - Let’s face it, teenagers can get moody at times. But there is a huge

difference between being moody and having depression. Teenagers who are

suffering from depression will show more frequent mood swings, coming mostly out

of the blue. They may also experience anger outbursts, sadness, and irritability.

- Academic Problems - Problems in your teenager’s academic performance may show

signs of depression. This could be a drop in their grades or low-test scores. Teachers

may send you emails or letters regarding your child's behavior. Sometimes your

teenager may skip school entirely or arrive late for class. Being in touch and asking

questions about their school life helps you recognize patterns.

- Lost of Interest -Lost of interest in things that they used to enjoy is another sign. They

make have played a particular sport and may have decided to quit the team or not

play the upcoming season. They may have enjoyed gaming and they are no longer

interested. If you see this, this is a major indicator of possible depression.

- No Motivation or Energy - If your teenager lacks motivation or energy, this may look

like laziness when in fact it is depression. Those suffering will show a significant

decline in motivation or lack of energy. They may sleep more than usual and not want

to get out of bed. They may constantly forget tasks such as house chores and

homework assignments. They may also have a hard time putting words and

sentences together coherently.

Importantly, if you, as a parent, suffer from depression, there is a good chance that your

teenager will experience it as well. If you notice one or more of these signs of

depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. This

professional should be a person that your teen should trust. Depression is not anything

to take likely. It needs attention and a plan of action. Remember, life is short, parenting

is not. Parenting teenagers can feel like an eternity. However, the more knowledge and

skills you learn about your teenager, the easier it will be.

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