We highlight mental self-care the first Sunday of each month for Self-Care Sunday. Today, I’ve invited one of my students to share her opinion paper with you. Cherie Whitney wrote this as an assignment for her English class, and she has a powerful message about depression for parents and teachers.

Why You Should Know the Effects of Depression In Teens

by Cherie Whitney

I think adults should know the effects of depression. Most adults seem to ignore that someone close, like a friend, or family member, can have depression. But noticing the symptoms of physical and emotional depression may help the person that is going through depression. It is imperative that adults should know the basic symptoms, which can be physical or emotional, and also know what to do to help.

Depression has Physical Effects

Depressed teens don't announce, "Hey, Mom, I'm depressed." Signs to look for. #depression #selfcare #parentingWhat does physical depression look like? According to WebMD, physical signs of depression can include sleep problems and headaches. I don’t know many people who suffer from depression, but I suffer from it. I’ve experienced early awakening for particularly no reason. From the age of 13, I’ve suffered from a lot of migraines. Because of my age, I was told I should be healthy and not have migraines every other day—something that lasted almost for two months.

According to the website Migraine Relief Center, patients shown to have migraines with an aura have an increased chance of suffering from depression. What you need to look for in a depressed person’s physical state would be their appearance, mood, and daily activities. Now that I look back, I can see that I have been struggling through some of the physical symptoms of depression. In short, adults and parents need to look for physical signs of depression in family members.

Depression has Emotional Effects

What are the emotional signs of depression? Experts say that signs of depression include constant irritably or sadness, self-loathing, and some withdrawal from socializing. My experience of emotional depression was a lot of constant sadness, self-loathing, and being withdrawn from socializing at times. Some of the symptoms seem pretty depressing but it is the reality of depression.

According to WebMD, teens that have depression will have a dramatic change in their thinking and behavior. For example, a change in their thinking or behavior could be a lack of motivation with school or chores, and they can even become socially withdrawn. Teens with depression would most likely hide behind closed doors and stay in their rooms for hours. For this reason, it’s important for parents to know the emotional signs of depression.

Breaking the Cycle

Can we break the cycle of depression? At least 10% of people in the U.S. will experience depression at some point in their life. Therefore the other 90% should be more aware of the signs to help the other 10% break the cycle of depression. The 90% of people could be helpful as to keeping an eye on them so that the 10% could have help to prevent depression which can lead to suicide.

The other 90% need to know the signs of depression so that they can help the 10% that suffer from it. #depression #teens Click To Tweet

Depression can also be genetic, and it could be passed down from generation to generation. For example, parents with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) could pass down the tendency to suffer from depression to their child. Then the child would grow older and still have the disorder, which could then be carried down to the next generation of children.

In conclusion, being aware of depression can break the cycle of depression. Grown-ups need to be more aware of depression in adolescents. They need to look for physical signs. They also to need to know the signs of emotional depression. Being aware could break the cycle of depression. As you can see, most people don’t know the signs of depression, but noticing the signs could help break the cycle of depression.

Editor’s Note: I found a great article today that goes along with what Cherie wrote. You can find it here.



Cherie Whitney wants parents and teachers to know the warning signs of depression so that they can reach out and help their students and children.

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  1. Cherie, this is so helpful. I was a depressed teen, and only just barely knew what was going on inside my head. I’m thankful for all the information that is now available and for this kind of intentional heads up directed toward parents and teachers. Blessings to you,and thanks, Anita!
    Michele Morin recently posted…A Glorious Bustle of LifeMy Profile

  2. What a helpful and insightful post. Having suffered from anxiety and depression, I am always championing those who step up to erase the stigma of depression so that we can stop avoiding it and step in to help those who are suffering. Thank you so much for sharing some of the warning signs. May we ALL be more aware so that we can be more helpful. Excellent post.
    Bev xx
    Bev @ Walking Well With God recently posted…March Moments & The Big RevealMy Profile

  3. So important. Awareness paves the way for compassion and help. And I think it’s great that you invited a student to share, that you created space for her to share her voice.

  4. Dear Cherie, how brave and articulate you are to share your personal insights into depression. It’s a disorder that has plagued my family for generations. And sadly, you are so right about depression either not understood or misunderstood so often. I think if the 90% really understood that those of us in the 10% don’t choose depression and can’t fight it alone, lives would greatly improve. Thanks and blessings for speaking up on this important topic!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this. I had a teen daughter who became severely depressed, and I missed the signs for quite awhile. 🙁 I associated depression with sadness and withdrawal, but her depression exhibited itself more in irritability and no planning for the future. Fortunately, we caught it in time to get her some great meds and it turned everything around. I still shudder to think about all the “what-if’s” that could have happened instead.
    Lisa notes recently posted…5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – April 2018My Profile

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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