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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


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 (, which allows you to text live with a mental health professional. For more ideas and a list of health hotlines, visit (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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