When it comes to health care, one size does not fit all.
Adolescents are thought to differ from adults living with depression because they more often experience symptoms of irritability, anger and self-criticism rather than feelings of sadness and a loss of energy commonly seen in adults.
NAMI has published What Families Need to Know about Adolescent Depression, a new edition of a guide for families seeking accurate diagnosis and wanting to know effective treatment options for teenagers experiencing depression.
The 35-page Family Guide summarizes symptoms of depression and treatment options, along with providing information about suicide prevention, healthcare and therapy.
The most common forms of therapy for adolescent depression are talk therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), medication or a combination of both.
It is important that parents and children engage in dialogue to create an open and honest environment where mental health issues are discussed and treated just like any other health risk. Communication is imperative. The family guide can help the discussion.
"Untreated, depression can lead to devastating consequences for adolescents, including ongoing problems in school, at home and with friends, the loss of critical developmental years and increased risk for substance abuse, involvement with the juvenile justice system and suicide."
--What Families Need to Know about Adolescent Depression
Since 2009, physicians have been encouraged to perform general depression screenings for children aged 12 to 18. Screenings and discussions with adolescents are vital in preventing them from reaching decisions where they resort to self-harm or suicide to achieve relief from distress that can be effectively treated.
A PDF copy of the booklet can be downloaded from the NAMI website. Single and multiple copies can also be ordered through the NAMI store.
NAMI also has a Child & Adolescent Action Center that provides additional information and updates related to young people and mental illness.