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Why Do So Many Teens Have Depression?

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Why do so many teens have depression? The risk factors surrounding depression in teens involve family history or genetics, brain chemistry, hormones, and traumatic experiences. These risk factors are general and have a connection to any individual who develops depression.

The high number of challenges teens face in today’s world can have a direct responsibility in the development of mental health conditions. Understanding teen depression may help to address and eliminate mental health problems with your teen. 

Why Do So Many Teens Have Depression? Risk Factors 

The National Institute on Mental Health states that in 2021, 5 million teens ages 12-17 reported experiencing at least one depressive episode; the resulting percentage for this population is 20.1%. Female adolescents have a higher rate of depression, more than double that of males, and those of more than one race are at higher risk.

Our specialized adolescent mental health programs offering innovative therapies are seeing great success in treatment. Raising the awareness of the mental health needs of teens is essential for bringing these percentages down. 

Risk factors for teen depression include the following factors:

  • Academic pressures and bullying
  • Social media
  • Traumatic experiences, including physical and sexual abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Early puberty
  • Medical and mental health conditions
  • Substance use
  • LGBTQ issues without support

Depression in High School

Depression in high school can be the result of a combination of risk factors, dysfunctional family environments, and peer pressures. Furthermore, with the escalating costs of college, additional pressures to excel in their studies and sports for scholarships add another layer of risk.

Why do so many teens develop depression in high school? Mental health conditions may begin in childhood, but no one recognizes the problems as mental health issues. 

Can School Cause Depression?

Can school cause depression, or are the negative risk factors in school responsible for teens developing mental health conditions?  The rise in gun violence in schools and the preparations for surviving a violent incident in school can cause rising anxiety.

Bullying is brutal to control, and although the awareness has increased, social media pressures are challenging to prevent. While school environments may not cause depression to occur, educators may be failing at preventing, identifying, and acting on risk factors. USA Today reported “1 in 6 kids ages 6 to 17 in the United States” have experienced a mental health condition. 

Signs of Teen Depression: How Does Depression Affect Teens?

Teens experiencing depression can experience emotional and behavioral challenges. Without positive and healthy coping mechanisms, the overwhelming symptoms of depression can cause teens to resort to unsafe behaviors and even thoughts of suicide. 

Parents may ask, how does depression affect teens, and what can I do to help? Recognizing the symptoms and offering support to depressed teens through professional evaluation and treatment is the best answer to that question. 

Understanding the risk factors involving depression in teens is a good start. The following are risk factors to consider when depression may be affecting a teenager:

  • Depression affects girls twice as often as boys.
  • Teens who experience abuse and neglect are at high risk for depression.
  • Chronic illness, disability, or other physical conditions cause a higher risk.
  • A family history of mental health conditions.
  • ⅔ of teens with depression have a high risk of having another mental health condition.
  • Teens with a traumatic experience or family dysfunction.

Why Are American Teens So Sad?

There’s an alarming number of suicides among young people today, but why do so many teens have depression? Experts believe that extreme pressure at home and school, excessive stress, financial problems, and alcohol or drug use could be the cause.

With 20% of teens experiencing depression, warning signs of a mental health call for action from parents. Social media is a massive factor in how teens perceive reality and can be a significant factor in the development of anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness. 

Some professionals believe that teens develop unrealistic expectations of life. They think they should always look great and feel happy, but they have no coping skills for the challenging factors of life. Other reasons why American teens are so sad are a lack of community and family support. Additional reasons include a lack of a nutritional diet, less exercise, and unmonitored technological usage and other general stressors and challenges. 

Unhealthy Coping for Depression In Teens

Why might adolescence be a stressful time for many teenagers? Social media opens up a worldview for teens today that may show a distorted sense of reality. Teens compare themselves to other teens on social media without considering much of what they view as false information.

Consumed with anxiety, stress, and depression, teens develop unhealthy coping mechanisms and often spiral out of control. Following the unhealthy coping mechanisms seen online and ease of access to alcohol and drugs escalates and intensifies the symptoms of depression. 

Parents need to learn the warning signs of depression and realize the high numbers of depression in high school. Recognizing unhealthy coping mechanisms in teens may be a red flag in evaluating the warning signs of depression. Parents need to become more aware of the changing behaviors of their teens.

The following signs and symptoms of depression in teens should not go unnoticed: 

  • Extremes of sadness or hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem or sense of self
  • Self-isolation and problems in school
  • Sluggishness or extreme fatigue
  • A lack of desire to participate in activities previously enjoyed
  • Issues with diet and sleep
  • Continual headaches
  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Not caring about appearance
  • Running away from home

Depression Treatment

Why do so many teens have depression today when awareness of mental health conditions is at the forefront? The stigma of mental health is still causing people to have a fear of voicing their concerns about mental health.

Depression and other mental health conditions are treatable. Parents must address depression in their teens to avoid suicide or a substance use disorder. Facilities like ours that offer adolescent mental health programs can help teens heal in an ideal environment. 

Get Your Teen The Depression Treatment They Deserve

Parents can feel hopeless and not know where to turn when they realize that their teenager is feeling depressed. Sierra Health + Wellness provides specialized programs for teens with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Avoiding the possibility of suicide is a significant reason for finding the answers you need for your teen.

Contact Sierra Health + Wellness today to resolve your child’s needs so they can learn positive and healthy ways to manage their lives.