Why Is My Teen Depressed?

Teenage sadness and depression rates have been climbing since 2020. Parents are asking this question, “Why is my teen depressed?” 



There can be many reasons for your teen to be feeling sad or depressed. While no one can explain exactly why, many experts say teens and young adults today probably face more pressures at home or school, worry about financial issues for their families, and use more alcohol and drugs.


This is in addition to keeping up with their digital life.


3 Common Reasons for Teenage Depression:


Addressing depression is crucial for your teenager’s mental health and wellness. Understanding some of the common reasons for depression can help you help your child. It does not replace getting professional help.


1. Bullying.  Never underestimate the power of words and the long-lasting effect if has on your child. Generations earlier have failed to realize the emotional damage and consequences that hurtful and harmful words have on young people — the old cliché that sticks and stones will break your bones, but words could never hurt is now history. Words hurt and can leave a trail of emotional scars for years if not addressed.


Teens that are bullied by other students at school are more likely to develop depression. Some of the common signs include appetite changes, trouble sleeping, emotional disturbances, and possibly thoughts of suicide. You may notice they start isolating themselves from friends and even family events. They lose interest in their favorite activities and possibly drop out of their sports or other extra-curriculum that they once enjoyed.


2. Social Media.  Although social media has many positive attributes, it also has been blamed for the increase of depression for all ages. Many teens are seeking gratification and approval through their social media platforms, basing their self-worth on how many “likes” or followers they garnish through their posts. Teenagers who search for acceptance on social media are more likely to succumb to those that are not always going to agree with them. Another words, they are at a higher risk of cyberbullying and online hate.


There is a vast amount of research which concurs that teens that are victims of online bullying and harassment has consistently led to higher levels of depression and anxiety.  In addition, one study found that 93% of the teens that were victimized felt sadness, hopelessness, powerlessness and loneliness. Another study explored the impact of teen social media use and found that those who used social media both more overall and at night had higher levels of depression and poorer sleep.


3. Academic Pressure. Teens are feeling stressed to perform well in school or in some situations they experience pressure to play sports or other extracurricular activities they may not be motivated to participate in.  Students feeling academic stress are over 2 times higher risk of experiencing depression compared to those that don’t feel overwhelmed with school.


As colleges have become more competitive and costly, students and parents have concerns about how they will meet the higher education demands.


In conclusion:


A mental health professional can help with teen issues and it is best to start as soon as possible. Therapy can help teens understand why they are depressed and learn how to cope with stressful situations. Depending on the situation, treatment may consist of individual, group or family counseling.


Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, parents should seek professional advice from a therapist on how to handle this situation. It might be time to consider a therapeutic boarding school.


Read: How To Interview Therapeutic Schools.

Read: 5 Benefits of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.

Read: Are Therapeutic Boarding Schools Effective?


Are you struggling with your depressed teenager and local therapy has not worked? Contact us for a free consultation, since 2001 we have helped parents find the right residential treatment for their teen.






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