Tween and teen health (24)
- Strength training: OK for kids?
- Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls
- Dehydration and youth sports: Curb the risk
- see all in Tween and teen health
Tween health (6)
- Menstruation: Preparing your preteen for her period
- Inhalant abuse: Is your child at risk?
- Sex education: Talking to your school-age child about sex
- see all in Tween health
Teen health (21)
- Teen weight loss: Healthy habits count
- Teenage pregnancy: Consider the options
- Teen eating disorders: Tips to protect your teen
- see all in Teen health
Teenage depression: Prevention begins with parental support
Teenage depression can affect nearly every aspect of your child's life. Understand what you can do to help prevent teenage depression, including possible mental health therapy.By Mayo Clinic staff
Teenage depression is a serious health concern that can result in long-lasting physical and emotional challenges. Although there's no sure way to prevent teenage depression, you can take simple steps to make a difference — starting today.
Offer unconditional support
A strong parent-child relationship can help prevent depression.
To build — or maintain — a positive relationship with your child, you might:
- Set aside time each day to talk
- Find out what excites — and concerns — your child
- Encourage your child to express his or her feelings
- Recognize your child's achievements and praise his or her strengths, whether it's in academics, music, athletics, relationships or other areas
- Offer positive feedback when you notice positive behavior
- Prepare and eat meals together
- Respond to your child's anger with calm reassurance rather than aggression of your own
If your child is reluctant to talk, spend time in the same room. Even if you're not talking, a caring attitude can speak volumes.
Foster friendship and social networks
Encourage your child to spend time with friends and to get involved in extracurricular activities.
Positive peer experiences and strong friendships can help prevent depression. Playing team sports or taking part in other organized activities might help, too, by boosting your child's self-esteem and increasing his or her social support network.
At the same time, be alert to the possible issues associated with early dating. Even typical romantic experiences, such as flirting and dating, can be challenging for teens — and might contribute to symptoms of depression.
Monitor media use
Be wary of movies and TV shows that feature idealized characters and situations. If your child routinely gauges himself or herself against an impossible ideal, feelings of disappointment or depression might follow.
Repeated exposure to negative or violent content might also aggravate feelings of depression, perhaps by promoting a negative or fearful view of the world.
On the flip side, some research suggests that reading during adolescence might have the opposite effect — perhaps offering a buffer against depression.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Merry SN, et al. Psychological and educational interventions for preventing depression in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003380.pub3/abstract. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Biddle SJH, et al. Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: A review of reviews. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;45:886.
- Gladstone TRG, et al. The prevention of adolescent depression. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2011;34:35.
- Primack BA, et al. Using ecological momentary assessment to determine media use by individuals with and without major depressive disorder. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2011;165:360.
- Gangwisch JE, et al. Earlier parental set bedtimes as a protective factor against depression and suicidal ideation. Sleep. 2010;33:97.
- Davila J, et al. Romantic and sexual activities, parent-adolescent stress, and depressive symptoms among early adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescence. 2009;32:909.
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed June 22, 2012.
- Mason MJ, et al. Adolescents' social environment and depression: Social networks, extracurricular activity and family relationship influences. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 2009;16:346.
- Schwartz OS, et al. Emotion socialization within the family environment and adolescent depression. Clinical Psychology Review. 2010;32:447.
- Rishel CW. Pathways to prevention for children of depressed mothers: A review of the literature and recommendations for practice. Depression Research and Treatment. 2012;2012:313689.
- Hoecker JL. Adolescent sleep deprivation. Indian Pediatrics. 2008;45:181.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 28, 2012.