My depressed teen needs help: What should I do?

Coming to the realization your teen is depressed is one thing, convincing him/her to get help when they refuse is another. It’s hard to find the right way to broach the subject of depression with the sufferer. There’s not one single solution that suits all personalities. Sometimes it’s a matter of starting with one method and being prepared to try alternatives if your first attempt proves to be unsuccessful.

Try the techniques below, remembering to proceed with caution, but still being firm in your delivery.

1. Discuss the noticeable changes in your teen’s behaviour. Refer to specific examples and the changes
you’ve witnessed and the signs that lead you to believe he/she is suffering from depression.

2. Talk about how ignoring signs of depression and leaving depression untreated can have dire
consequences, not only affecting them but the people closest to them, such as family and school friends.

3. Resort to bargaining. Use sentences like “If you get help, I will…”. Fill in the blanks. Promising a trip to
Disneyland may not be financially viable, but if that’s what it takes to encourage your teen do seek help,
go for it. Find something your teenager really wants and then dangle that carrot.

4. Try to empathise with how your son or daughter is feeling. To do this, can’t know exactly what it’s like
even if you have walked in their shoes. Sometimes they don’t want solutions, they want a listening ear.

5. Make it clear that depression is a disease, just like alcoholism or drug addiction. There’s nothing wrong
with your teen, it’s the illness that is taking a toll on the wellness of his/her brain.

6. Shower you teen with positive statements about their personality or every time they make steps to
overcome their depression.

7. Be available to listen, even if it is a 3:00 am. Your teen has to know you are there for them anytime no
matter what.

8. Encourage your daughter or son to make a list of questions they’d like to ask a professional mental
health counselor.

9. Be firm. Let your teen know, the sooner help is sought, the sooner life will get back to what’s considered
normal.

10. No matter what, never give up encourage your teen to get help. Use whatever means it takes to get your
message across; YouTube channel, photos, email, text message, letters or phone calls from siblings.

If your teen is depressed, don’t wait another day to seek professional help. If left untreated it can have fatal
consequences.