Depression in teenagers is common as there are so many factors that can contribute to worsen their angst. Peer pressure, conflicts at home and in school, romantic relationships, trying to find their identities and negative influences are some of the contributing factors. Not all depressed teens need professional help but when things start to get out of hand, it’s time to call in the experts.

Duration of depression
Ordinary teenage mood swings don’t last for very long as they come and go. But severe depression can last for weeks. If your teenage ward has been displaying signs of depression for over two weeks and no amount of talking and listening seems to help, it’s time to seek professional treatment.

Interference with school
A severely depressed teen will have trouble focusing on school and other teenage-related activities. The depression becomes all-consuming and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are all he can think about. If his grades start to slip and he begins skipping school, it’s usually a cry for help.

Talks of suicide
If all seems lost, depressed teens begin harboring thoughts of suicide. This is extremely dangerous as if help isn’t sought in time, the thoughts become actions. Keep a look out for comments or statements about suicide such as ‘I would be better off if I died’ or actions such as giving away prized possessions and writing stories or poems about death and suicide.