October was National Depression Education and Awareness Month, but if you are the parent of a teen suffering from depression, every month is depression awareness month.

If you think your teenage son or daughter is depressed, seek professional attention. To supplement their treatment, here are a few ways to be supportive.

  • Encourage your teen to get up and out. Maybe offer to do an activity together like taking a walk or going out for lunch. Your teen may not feel like it at first, but sometimes behavioral action precedes feeling better.

  • Stay positive. Use empathy and validation. You can’t simply tell someone not to be depressed. Instead, acknowledge and validate your teen’s feelings and struggle. Try, “I can tell you are feeling down. I’m here if you want to talk, or I can just stay nearby.”

  • Support healthy habits, such as a focus on nutritious food, exercise, and plenty of (but not too much) sleep.

It is tough on a parent to have a depressed teen. Be patient and take care of yourself!

This tip is from Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, and Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, the authors of Magination Press book, Depression: A Teen’s Guide to Thrive and Survive.

by Claire Freeland, Ph.D.

This Article's Author

Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice, working for more than 35 years with youth and their families. With an interest in bringing psychological concepts to a wide audience, she has co-written several books for children and teens on subjects related to emotions and behavior. She lives with her husband in Baltimore, MD. They have two grown children.
by Jacqueline Toner, Ph.D

This Article's Author

Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, is the co-author of a number of books for children and teens addressing social and emotional challenges. She practiced clinical psychology for over three decades serving children, teens, and families. Dr. Toner lives in Baltimore, MD, with her husband. They have three married daughters and two grandsons.

Related Books from Magination Press

  • Depression: A Teen’s Guide to Survive and Thrive

    Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD and Claire A. B. Freeland, Ph.D

    If you have picked up this book, you probably want nothing more than to understand why you feel the way you do and how to feel better. You want those depressed thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to just go away, right?

    Inside you’ll read about what depression is, how it can derail you, and effective ways to take care of yourself if you are depressed. Full of useful information, helpful self-reflection quizzes, and easy-to-do exercises, and based firmly on cognitive-behavioral principles, this book will provide you with a concrete plan that could make a huge difference in your health and well-being — a difference that lasts.