One-third of teen girls have experienced this

One-third of teen girls have experienced this

One-third of teenage girls have experienced depression. In fact, depression in many children starts as early as age 11. These are among the findings of a study on the state of children’s behavioral health in the U.S.

Depression during adolescence happens more frequently than previously thought, study authors note, and manifests at a higher rate among girls than boys. Thirty-six percent of teen girls report having experienced depression, compared to 13.6 percent of boys in the same age group, the study reports.

Understanding teen depression is critical because depression can lead to poor academic functioning, conduct problems and even suicide attempts, study authors point out, advocating early intervention in favor of a so-called “wait and see” approach to clinical treatment.

“Now is the time to build resilience in the family and in our communities,” says Dr. Joanna Lindell, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Advocate Children’s Hospital.

Summer presents a unique opportunity for parents to deepen their relationships with their children as families have more free time, Lindell says. She offers the following tips for parents seeking to grow closer to their kids during the turbulent teenage years:

  1. Use your vacation days to spend additional quality time together as a family. Get to know your teens better by going on vacation or even seeking out staycation opportunities.
  2. Offer to host teen gatherings at your own home. Tell your kids to invite their friends over for a pool party, barbecue or bonfire. By hosting, you can get to know your kids’ friends better, providing insight into their peer relationships.
  3. Set aside family quiet time or engage in mindfulness exercises. Rest and relaxation can recharge your batteries – and your teen’s as well.

Parents should refrain from comparing their child’s behavior to that of their peers because everyone matures at a different rate, Lindell says. Having expectations that are unrealistically high can lead to anxiety and other behavioral health disorders.

The adolescent depression study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, was based on data compiled from in-person interviews with more than 100,000 kids ages 12 to 19 who participated in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health from 2009 to 2014.

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  1. Go to church. Go to a good one with firm moral guidelines.Practice them yourself. Send her to a school that teaches sexual abstinence and other moral behavior. Pray with her. Do everything you can to keep your girl from giving in to pressure to have sex. Girls are depressed because our culture is using them as toys. Help her withstand it.

  2. I appreciate this article as mental health is important. However, I wonder if the percentage given includes and reflects black girls. The picture selected for the article and the general language of the article leads me to believe that black girls are missing. I love advocates news articles, but I want to see myself and my children in these articles that are so important.

  3. Janet Baker’s comment right on. Her advice is correct.
    Stop advising people to follow this fad called mindfulness.. Mindfullness is just another progressive
    way to keep God out of your life. Instead, aadvise parents to put away their mobile phones and talk with their children. Engage in conversation. Be engaged with your family. Then find a good church (not easy to do). Find out who God is. Then learn what God would have you do. It’s in the Bible.

  4. Janet,
    Church is not the answer. Depression is a medical condition. Church may help, prayer may help, but these are not solutions. The real issue is social media, unrealistic media portrayals, and unfortunately a more technologically advanced world. Anyone can at anytime see anything on the internet literally in the palm of their hand.

    The solution is conversation. Show your children what photoshop does and what photo filters do. Be honest with them. Talk to them like they are intelligent human beings. I guarantee you they know more about the internet than you do. Never leave it up to a higher power to handle a real time problem.

    After a conversation about all of that is had, pray about it/ talk about it. Trust in a higher power to give you strength to find the right words to say at the right time when you know what needs to be said. Women feel like toys at times bc they feel have no power or control. Saying what you need makes a big difference as opposed to asking for strength to do what you need. Self- empowerment is a God given right and that’s what needs to be practiced here.

About the Author

Lisa Parro
Lisa Parro

Lisa Parro, health enews contributor, is manager of content strategy for Advocate Aurora Health. A former journalist, Lisa has been in health care public relations since 2008 and has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She and her family live in Chicago’s western suburbs.