It’s common for a teenager to feel down. With changing hormones, school cliques, and peer pressure, being a teen isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s more than relationship problems or homework that affect a teen’s mood. Many teens struggle with depression, and very few seek help. This can evolve into larger, more dangerous problems down the line such as criminal actions, further mental health issues, and even suicide. The statistics surrounding teen depression are staggering, but identifying warning signs can give you the tools to communicate with your teenager and find help if they are depressed.

Teen Depression in America: Troubling Statistics and Facts

What is frequently written off as normal teenage angst may really be teen depression, and if left untreated could lead to more serious conditions with antisocial behaviors. Diagnosing depression in teens is complicated by the physical changes in this stage of development, yet there are warning signs and options for help. Below you will find a long list of eye-opening teen depression statistics covering prevalence, symptoms, warning signs of teen depression, treatment options, recovery rates and more.

Teen Depression Statistics

Most Common Types of Teen Depression

  1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
    Someone with MDD will experience episodes of intense depression (lasting weeks to years), separated by periods of relatively stable moods. MDD can make it difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends or activities.
  2. Dysthymic Disorder
    Teens with Dysthymia experience depressive episodes that are less intense than in MDD but are long-lasting—at least one year or longer.
  3. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
    Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes ranging from extreme emotional highs to extreme lows—major depression to mania with high energy. This is a serious condition that can cause sleeplessness, hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose delusions, or paranoid rage. Bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component and can run in families.
  4. Adjustment Disorder
    Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that people find themselves in when they struggle coping with, or adjusting to, a particular source of stress such as, divorce or death of a loved one.

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Causes of Teen Depression

Depression in teens can stem from a variety of reasons:

  1. Academic stress
  2. Peer pressure
  3. Romantic problems
  4. Traumatic events
  5. Divorcing parents
  6. Genetic factors
  7. Family financial struggles
  8. Physical/emotional neglect

(Information courtesy of

How Does Depression Affect Teen Life?

Depression can lead to other problems as well.

  • 30% of teens suffering from depression also develop substance abuse problems
  • 15% of teens suffering with teen depression eventually develop bipolar disorder
  • Up to 10% of teens have conduct disorder as a result of depression

Conduct disorder is a range of antisocial behaviors towards others.

  • 6%-10% of boys have conduct disorder
  • 2%-9% of girls have conduct disorder

Conduct disorder can lead to:

  • Aggression with people and animals
  • Destruction of property
  • Deceitfulness or theft
  • Serious violations of rules

Depression can also cause teens to:

  • Create family conflicts
  • Have problems at school
  • Run away
  • Become violent
  • Participate in reckless behavior
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Develop internet addictions
  • Become suicidal

If Left Untreated, Depression Can Evolve into Other Serious Conditions

Ignoring depression can be dangerous. Unfortunately, 80 percent of teens don’t seek help for their depression. Depression can turn into a more serious condition for your teenager if left untreated.

  • 20% with major depressive disorder (MDD) develop psychotic symptoms
  • 15% of teens with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder
  • 66% of teens with major depression also suffer from another mental disorder, such as persistent mild depression, addiction to drugs or alcohol, anxiety, or antisocial behaviors

Teenage Depression and Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24.

  • The rate of suicide in America has tripled over the last 60 years
  • About 19% of young people contemplate or attempt suicide each year
  • 14%-24% of young and young adults have self-injured at least once
  • More teens die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined
  • 5,400 estimated suicide attempts are made each day by teens in the United States

Signs of Teen Depression

Four out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs as to their intentions.

Common warning signs of depression are:

  1. Sadness that lasts most of the day
  2. Crankiness and irritability
  3. Inability to have fun doing things that used to be fun
  4. Acting younger than their age
  5. Feeling tired all the time
  6. Trouble sleeping through the night
  7. Changes in appetite
  8. Drop in grades
  9. Lack of empathy
  10. Lack of motivation
  11. Low self-esteem

teen depression major red flags

Contact us about counseling for troubled youth

Call us at 1-877-300-9101 to schedule an appointment or request more information from the dropdown below.


Tips for Talking with Teens

Communicate with your teenager to understand what is going on in their life. Let them know you are there for them no matter what. It’s okay if you need some guidance talking to your teen. After all, teenagers don’t come with instructions. Here are a few tips for successful communication with your teenager:

  1. Offer genuine support
  2. Be gentle but persistent with requests
  3. Listen without lecturing
  4. Validate their feelings
  5. Find a depression specialist
  6. Stay involved in treatment
  7. Provide appropriate medication
  8. Encourage physical activity and a balanced diet
  9. List to and support your teen
  10. Educate your teen on the risks or drug and alcohol abuse
  11. Educate yourself about depression

Options for Help

Only 1 in 5 depressed teens receive help. There are many options available for teens facing mental health issues. Rawhide Boys Ranch is one of them.

Rawhide offers various programs for troubled and at-risk youth:

  1. Outpatient counseling
    Our therapists use a blend of therapeutic styles and approaches to address a variety of personal and family concerns. Open to girls, boys, parents, couples, individuals.
  2. Residential treatment
    A group home that provides a family living structure, treatment, and therapy for youth struggling with behavioral issues and disorders.
  3. Adventure camp
    An adventure-based therapy program for the purpose of therapeutic intervention. Youth enjoy canoeing, camping, cooking, hiking, fishing, and journaling.
  4. Cognitive behavior therapy
    Cognitive behavior therapy helps teens identify distressing thoughts and corrects negative ways of thinking.

Residential Treatment Success

Residential treatment has been very successful for individuals battling depression.

  • 80% of adolescents with depression improve during residential treatment
  • 72%-97% of parents reported a reduction in internalizing problems from admission to discharge after residential treatment

Don’t let depression affect your teenager. Open a healthy line of communication with your teenager and find out the problems they are facing and what is going on in their life. If your teenager is struggling with depression, there is help. Your teenager does not have to battle depression on their own.

Contact us about residential services

This residential program is available only for court-referred young men; parents cannot directly place their youth into this setting.