Signs of Depression in Teenagers

Many of our keiki are now back in school and trying to balance their lives with books, studying, sports and relationships.  Because we care deeply about our children, we are reminding parents and guardians to be aware of behavior that may signal a deeper problem.

Remember, the first and foremost protection for your child begins with you. Take time to talk to your child every day about the things that are happening in their lives.

Hawai’i has a very high rate of teenage suicide so we need to make it a priority to monitor our keiki before the situation gets so bad that they take their own precious life.  According to the Hawaii State Department of Health, there was an annual average of 170 suicides in Hawaii, with a peak of 200 deaths in 2010, in the number of suicides in the state, by far the highest total in the 22-year period (1991- 2012) for which data was available.

That is heartbreaking!  To help you identify depression in your child, we ask that you watch for these signs:

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you’re unsure if the keiki in your life is depressed or just “being hormonal,” consider how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self.

If you are unsure, but suspect that something is just not right, or if it feels different, seek help.

Click here for resources in Hawai’i on suicide prevention.