Many Depressed Teens Never Ask for Help

A new article reveals that most teens that struggle with depression do not receive treatment. Each year, almost 2 million teens report having experienced an episode of major depression. However, only 30 percent of them receive treatment for the symptoms of anxiety, sadness, guilt and irritability. The findings were revealed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in an effort to raise awareness at the severity of mental health issues in children. The study indicated that nearly 15% of teens had considered suicide in the previous twelve months, and the findings hope to help discover which children are at greater risk in order to implement the proper interventions and therapies to prevent injuries and death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 4,400 American adolescents and young adults commit suicide annually, and another 150,000 receive treatment for self-injuries. The Center confirms that the majority of children who take their own lives had a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition and often exhibited symptoms in the months leading up to their suicide. The study also revealed that children who reported symptoms of depression were more likely to engage in addictive and abusive behaviors involving drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. The report targets these children specifically in order so that professionals “can turn a life around and reduce the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on America’s communities,” said Pamela S. Hyde, an administrator for the agency.

“Teen Screen” was created by doctors at Columbia University in an effort to identify children at risk for mental health issues. It is available throughout the country and is popular with physicians and in schools. Deputy executive director of Teen Screen Leslie McGuire said, “We know the earlier we identify these conditions, the prognosis for an adolescent is so much better. But we have to find them first.”

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Penny Rayas

    Penny Rayas

    May 5th, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Those very scary statistics! I work as a Therapist with teens in a school setting but those services are going away do to the budjet. Many community based prevention services are disapearing! I am wondering how we can get the word about teen depression to the community, without the man-woman power.

  • brandon


    May 6th, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    these mental disorders and depressive and suicidal thoughts in young people are one day going to destroy our nation or maybe even the world as we know it.human development is happening at a rapid pace yet people are more depressed and sorrowful than ever before.why is this happening?why are young people wanting to end their own lives?why can’t this be turned around?



    May 6th, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Many teens are crying out for help but they may not be quite as straightforward about it as we would like. I know that we have all seen teenagers who you can just tell need you to help them but they would rather die than outright ask for something. This is when we really have to go into pay attention mode to make sure that we are catching the warning signs if they are there.

  • Louise


    May 11th, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Some teens will never remember high school with a fondness that many of us take for granted. They suffer from ridicule and go home to parents that are not listening and telling them to grow up.By the time parents notice, it’s often too late to just tighten a few screws and get it sorted. Teen Screen sounds like it would catch them more easily and be a real blessing for children whose parents don’t take them seriously.

  • janet


    May 12th, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    I wonder what teens have to get depressed about. Let me think: pressured to fit in at school, pass a dozen classes, deal with chores at home, spades of homework, dealing with friends, avoiding peer pressure, dealing with bullies, dealing with divorcing parents, their depression, being too depressed to make friends or study…it’s no surprise the numbers are alarming, given what we expect of them.

  • bethany


    May 12th, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    I feel parents don’t pay much attention to their kids anymore. I’m not talking about making sure the kid’s avoiding drugs and staying in school. I’m talking about their mental health. You can’t just assume they’ll grow out of it if they are depressed. Get them checked out by the doctor if you have any concerns at all.

  • Kirstin


    May 14th, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    @janet, you hit the nail on the head. Teens have a lot of parental, peer and scholarly expectations to deal with, and the parents simply don’t understand that. Parents can be at fault for piling too much pressure on them. I know many do it with the best of intentions. They want their teen to succeed. What parents doesn’t? But there has to be balance.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on