Some help for depressed teens – and their parents

Many parents worry about whether the mood swings of their teenage son or daughter are “normal” or whether they could be a sign of an underlying mood disorder that warrants treatment.

At times of heightened stress, such as the current exam period, your teen may be especially sensitive. At the same time, some parents worry that TV programmes such as the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why (now in its 2nd Season) could act as a trigger for harming behaviour by already-vulnerable teens.



The lead actors from the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”

Opinion seems to be divided on the series. (13 Reasons Why is a fictional series which covers the issues of suicide, rape and bullying amongst high school teenagers). Some have welcomed the spotlight that it shines on these difficult issues while others have complained that it glamourises suicide as an option for depressed teens, and possibly encourages morbid and obsessive thinking about depressed feelings and suicidal ideation.

Certainly many boys at Bishops may not be remotely interested in watching the series, or take note of it and move swiftly along to things which are more interesting to them. But if the subject does come up, and the opportunity presents itself to talk to your teen about these issues, then it is best to be forewarned and informed.

As you know, having a stable, reliable and nurturing parent/adult to help your teen navigate the emotional ups-and-downs of adolescence is invaluable. And their asking for help is not only an excellent life-skill and coping strategy, but also a sign of strength.

The psychologists at the Bishops Support Unit are very willing to talk to students and their parents about any issue that they are worried about. We are also able to point you to helpful resources such as the ones listed below:

Some signs and symptoms to look out for on teenage depression

A helpful animated video clip on depression

The Many Faces of Depression (from SA Depression and Anxiety Group)

10 Things you Should say to a depressed love one