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Teen Depression: Get the Facts

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Families for Depression Awareness has provided some fact and tip sheets for families dealing with depression. Depression is a serious medical condition that creates intense feelings of pain and suffering, and can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. When we know the signs to look for, we can support teens in getting the treatment they need and deserve. Consider these facts:


1. Depression usually begins by adolescence:

At least half of all cases of depression begin by age 14.i

2. Teen depression is common:

By the end of their teen years, 20% will have had depression.ii

3. Depression is treatable:

More than 85% of teens improve with a combination of medication and therapy.iii

4. Not enough teens receive treatment:

Half of teens with a mental health disorder, and nearly two-thirds of teens with major depressive disorder, don’t receive treatment from a mental health provider. iv

5. Untreated depression can lead to:

  • Substance abuse (24% to 50%)v
  • Academic failure
  • Bullying (30% for those bullied, 19% for those doing the bullying)vi
  • Other disorders (e.g., eating disorder)
  • Suicide (depression greatly increases the risk of suicide, the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year olds).vii



View the Fact Sheets below for more information and the signs to look for:





i Kessler, National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study, 2007
ii Williams et al., “Screening for Child and Adolescent Depression in Primary Care Settings: A Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2009.
iii Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS), Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007
iv Bukstein OG, Glancy LJ, Kaminer Y. Patterns of affective comorbidity in a clinical population of dually diagnosed adolescent substance abusers. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 2007
v Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2007
vi Conwell Y, Brent D. Suicide and aging: patterns of psychiatric diagnosis. International Psychogeriatrics, 1995
vii Deaths: Final Data for 2012, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012