54ºF

Teen moodiness or dangerous depression? How to tell the difference

As teen suicide rates rise, experts are trying to know exactly why. Some say it is because teens are under more stress or are unable to escape cyberbullying.

“The literature says that about 20% of all teens suffer from depression at some point during those tumultuous years. I’m really sorry to tell you the literature also says about 80% receive no mental health treatment whatsoever," said Dr. Scott Poland, psychology professor and co-director of the Suicide & Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University.

So how do you tell the difference between normal teen angst and dangerous depression?

First -- duration. Has the change in behavior lasted longer than two weeks?

Second -- domain. Are all areas of their life being affected, such as family, school, and friendships?

Third -- severity. Apathy, fatigue, isolation, dropping out of activities, and using language like “I won’t be a problem much longer,” are all signs your teen needs attention.

“And my advice to parents is to listen more and talk less,” Poland said.

And for anyone who needs help …

“We also, for young people today, have a national crisis text line. Text any word to (741 741), you’re connected with a trained responder 24 hours a day,” he said.

Most importantly, if you suspect something is wrong, say something and get help.

Stanford Children’s Health says that problems in school, changes in friendships, loss and changes in family, such as divorce or moving towns, are all potential causes for a teen to suffer from depression.