Depression in Teens

Did You Know?

Depression used to carry a stigma and people who suffered from it kept it a secret.  Now it’s not so taboo many famous celebrities revealing they have depression and the struggle to stay mentally healthy. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Halle Barry, Demi Lovato, Kanye West, Wayne Brady, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Rock), Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas and Drew Carey all have recently come out to discuss their troubles with depression. 

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What do Ellen DeGeneres, Angelina Jolie, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Nick Jonas have in common besides being famous celebrities? Depression! They are among a long list of well-know public figures who have broken their silence of this previously secret, taboo topic to reveal their struggles with this all too common illness.  

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, studies have revealed that up to 9% of teenagers meet criteria for depression at any one time. And as many as 1 in 5 teenagers have a history of depression some time during adolescence. Often these teens go undiagnosed and untreated. A study conducted by Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield showed that Major Depression diagnoses have increased overall by 33% between 2013 and 2016, with 63% of those between 12 to 17 years of age.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in 5 teenagers have a history of depression at some time during adolescence.

Picture by By    (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Picture by By (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons


In our practice, we screen routinely for depression starting at the 12 year Well Child Check Up. We use a simple 2-Question screen, PH Q-2. Answering yes to either of these questions prompts us to use a 9-question form.

Do you know if your child could potentially have depression? Parents sometimes see behavior changes in their teens and chalk it off to “hormones” or just dismiss it as part of being a teenager. The best way to determine if your child is having problems is to lean in closely, ask questions (which may sometimes be tough) and observe their behavior. 
Does your teen have one or more of the following:

  • Sadness/Crying episodes

  • Isolation (spending unusually long amounts of time in their room)

  • Loss of Appetite

  • Inability to sleep

  • Anger

  • Agitation

  • Self-Harm

  • Risk taking behavior

  • Change in behavior or personality

  • Drug experimentation

  • Declining grades in school

  • Irritability or mood changes