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Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the US

An estimated 3.2 million adolescents age 12-17 in the US had at least one major

depressive episode

Depression is not a sign of weakness or character flaw. Most people with depression need treatment to improve

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Signs and Symptoms of Depression

If you are wondering if you may have depression, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you constantly feel sad, anxious, or even “empty,” like you feel nothing?

  • Do you feel hopeless or like everything is going wrong?

  • Do you feel like you’re worthless or helpless? Do you feel guilty about things?

  • Do you feel irritable much of the time?

  • Do you find yourself spending more time alone and withdrawing from friends and family?

  • Are your grades dropping?

  • Have you lost interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy?

  • Have your eating or sleeping habits changed (eating or sleeping more than usual or less than usual)?

  • Do you always feel tired? Like you have less energy than normal or no energy at all?

  • Do you feel restless or have trouble sitting still?

  • Do you feel like you have trouble concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions?

  • Do you have aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or stomach problems without a clear cause?

  • Do you ever think about dying or suicide? Have you ever tried to harm yourself?

Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:

  • Try to be active and exercise.

  • Set realistic goals for yourself.

  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.

  • Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.

  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.

  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.

  • Continue to educate yourself about depression.

How Do I Get Help?

If you think you might have depression, you are not alone. Depression is common, but it is also treatable. Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Step 1: Try talking to a trusted adult, such as your parent or guardian, your teacher, or a school counselor. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to an adult, try talking to a friend. If you are not sure where to turn, you can use TXT 4 HELP Interactive (www.nationalsafeplace.org/txt-4-help), which allows you to text live with a mental health professional. For more ideas and a list of health hotlines, visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/ (search words: children and adolescents).

  • Step 2: If you’re under the age of 18, ask your parent or guardian to make an appointment with a professional counselor or your doctor for an evaluation. 

Additional Resources

For a more detailed resource on Depression, click and download this PDF:  


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