Depression is a common and serious mental health disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It increasingly affects young people. According to Mental Health America, as many as one in five teenagers suffer from clinical depression (Mental Health America, 2023).
Closer to home, 41% of Clark County students reported feeling sad or hopeless at some point during the past two weeks, according to data from Clark County Children’s Mental Health
Consortium (CCCMHC, 2021). While sadness and hopelessness is different from depression, it indicates that young people are susceptible to the disease of depression.
Knowing other indicators can help you spot depression early and give young people opportunities to treat the disease.
If you are concerned that someone you know may be depressed, there are some signs and symptoms you can look for. These include:
If you are concerned that a young person you know may be depressed, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it. If you observe or suspect four or more of the above indicators for more than two weeks, experts at the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health Office of Suicide Prevention recommend you refer them or their parents to professional mental health care providers (Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, 2023).
For many young people you are in the best position to notice warning signs.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, it is important to reach out for help immediately. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
Depression is a common illness among young people, and there is help available. With treatment, most people with depression can recover and live full and productive lives.