Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and changing bodies can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens. But for some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings — they're a symptom of depression.

Teen depression isn't a weakness or something that can be overcome with willpower — it can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teens, depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling.

Teen depression care at Mayo Clinic

July 06, 2016
  1. Depressive disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  2. Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  3. Depression in children and adolescents. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/depression-in-children-and-adolescents.shtml. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  4. A family guide: What families need to know about adolescent depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Child_and_Adolescent_Action_Center&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=24806. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  5. Facts for families: The depressed child. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/The_Depressed_Child_04.aspx. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  6. Facts for families: Psychotherapies for children and adolescents. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Psychotherapies_For_Children_And_Adolescents_86.aspx. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  7. Bonin L, et al. Overview of treatment for pediatric depression. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  8. Moreland CS, et al. Pediatric unipolar depression and pharmacotherapy: Choosing a medication. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  9. FDA: Don't leave childhood depression untreated. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm413161.htm. Accessed Sept. 10, 2015.
  10. Rentala, S, et al. Effectiveness of body-mind-spirit intervention on well-being, functional impairment and quality of life among depressed patients — A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2015;71:2153.
  11. Stewart D, et al. Risks of antidepressants during pregnancy: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 27, 2015.
  12. Bonin L. Pediatric unipolar depression: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  13. Raglio A, et al. Effects of music and music therapy on mood in neurological patients. World Journal of Psychiatry. 2015;5:68.
  14. Uttley L, et al. Systematic review and economic modelling of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of art therapy among people with non-psychotic mental health disorders. Health Technology Assessment. 2015;19:1.
  15. Research report: Psychiatry and psychology, 2014-2015. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayo.edu/pmts/mc0700-mc0799/mc0710-11.pdf. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.
  16. Hall-Flavin DK, et al. Utility of integrated pharmacogenomic testing to support the treatment of major depressive disorder in a psychiatric outpatient setting. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics. 2013;23:535.
  17. Depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression/Overview. Accessed Sept. 10, 2015.
  18. Cook AJ. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2015.
  19. Brent DA, et al. Effect of a cognitive-behavioral prevention program on depression 6 years after implementation among at-risk adolescents: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. In press. Accessed Sept. 30, 2015.
  20. Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 30, 2015.
  21. Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 27, 2015.
  22. Centers of Excellence. National Network of Depression Centers. http://www.nndc.org/centers-of-excellence. Accessed Oct. 30, 2015.