For over 10 years, teens have been asking us questions on every topic imaginable. While we are no longer taking new questions, we have a wealth of information we would like to share with teenagers.
Questions about suicide? Call the NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Navigate: FAQ Home Page > Depression > FAQs about depression
I think I have SAD, should I have my mom take me to the doctor?
I've been depressed for 5 months and have been skipping meals?
My close friend has (possibly very serious) depression. What can I do as her friend to give her possibilities of help/treatment without being overly intrusive?
What is depression?
Depression is a mood many people describe when they are disappointed, frustrated or suffer a loss. However a clinical depression is a medical diagnosis that is more serious. Some of the most common symptoms of depression are: frequent sadness/tearfulness; poor concentration; decreased interest and enjoyment of activities; withdrawal; increased irritability/anger; hopelessness; and thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior.
If you have one or more of these symptoms and they persist, you should get help from a mental health professional. Ask your physician or school psychologist to refer you to the appropriate person. We know a lot about this illness and can treat it very effectively.
Yes, talk to a parent, doctor, teacher - and do not delay!
Depressed and skipping meals
It is highly likely that "the not eating thing" stems from your depression. Changes in eating patterns and often not eating is a symptom of depression. If you have been depressed for five months it is definitely time to get help. If you cannot tell your parents, tell your doctor, teacher, or other trusted adult and let them help you problem solve how to get help from a professional. You may need to tell your parents eventually, but counselors can see you in therapy and keep confidentiality as well as help you learn how to tell your parents about your problems without making it more difficult for you. My main message is that depression can be treated very effectively so don't suffer alone or develop an eating disorder which could cause other physical problems for you.
Friend is depressed
Tell her in a gentle caring way that you are concerned about her and know that there is help available. Be careful of not trying to become her counselor yourself in trying to be a good friend. You can encouage her to talk with her physician, parent, teacher or counselor to find out the best way to get help. The good news is there is a lot of treatment for depression and people can feel better even in a short period of time.
Teen Advisory Board of PAMF