While your teen’s depressive state may be temporary (a relationship break-up, bad test grade or being rejected) it can also become a more permenant threat to the teen. If you believe your teen is suffering from depression, take action right away for an official diagnosis.
Consult your family doctor: Even though your primary care physician may not specialize in depression, they will be able to refer you to specialists who are. The initial visit to your doctor will help you identify the severity of depression through a series of tests relative to anxiety and depression.
Seek out a specialist: Once you have met with your PCP you will be referred to a specialist, usually a mental health specialist who can begin treatment for your teen. Check with your insurance provider for locating a reputable specialist.
Consider antidepressants: Many parents and doctors do not agree that a teen should be given medicine to cope with their depression; however, there are recommended antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Unfortunately, SSRIs carry a warning that they may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children and adolescents. Teens and families should be alert for sudden changes or increased suicidal thoughts. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of this type of medicine.
Find alternatives for treatments: Alternative treatments include psychotherapy approaches, such as one-on-one and group sessions; behavior management; family support groups; and educational classes. Either approach helps the teen through constant conversations.
Try to understand their feelings: It's easy to blame your teen’s mood on ‘teenage attitude’ but according to leading psychologists, parents should not disregard their teen’s feelings. Rather you should validate their feelings and acknowledge their trials, even if you think the trials are insignificant. If your teen feels that you are unable to understand them, then they may shut down.
Stay the course: There will be resistance once you start asking your teen about what's bothering them, but stay the course. Instead of getting frustrated when your teen refuses to talk, be gentle and stay persistent. Don’t ask too many questions but offer support to your teen.
Don’t fuss or lecture - Listen: Sometimes one of the hardest things for a parent to do is listen when their teen is complaining or talking about their problems. As a parent, it is common to judge or criticize your teen for not performing or acting well but this is not recommended. If your teen is suffering from anxiety or depression, then listening is the best remedy to identify the root cause of their mental state.
Give your teen encouragement to regain their interests and activities; seek help from different medical professionals and alternative groups. Most importantly, stay abreast of the symptoms and watch your child for positive or negative reactions to treatment.