Teen depression is a serious problem that can cause long-lasting physical and emotional problems.

By promoting your child’s physical and mental health, you can help him or her handle stressful situations that might trigger teen depression.

There is no single cause of teen depression. Genetics and environment may play a role.

Some teens are more prone to depression than others:

  • Children of depressed parents.
  • Children who have anxiety or behavior problems.
  • Teen girls may be more vulnerable than teen boys.
  • Children with health problems, stress or the loss of an important person in their life.

Teens dealing with depression are more likely to experience teen pregnancy, abuse drugs and alcohol, and perform poorly at school and at work than other teens.

Teen depression is linked to an increase risk of suicide and suicide attempts.

How can parents prevent teen depression?

  • Praise your child’s skills. Self esteem and self perceptions are affected by poor performance in school, get involved with their teachers, praise their other strengths-whether in music, athletics, relationships or other areas.
  • Promote participation in organized activities. This will boost self-esteem and increase his or her social network.
  • Encourage physical activity. Have them get one hour or more physical activity a day.
  • Provide parental support. Remind your child that you care by listening, showing interest in his or her problems, and respecting his or her feelings.
  • Talk to your child. An early warning sign of teen depression is isolation. Set aside time to talk to your child.

If you’re concerned that your child will develop or has developed teen depression, consult your Doctor to find out about depression prevention programs or cognitive behavioral therapy as studies have shown taking extra steps such as these can help.