“If you see signs that your child may be sliding into serious depression, try the following strategies:”

Instead of asking “How are you?” you should say, lately I have noticed. For example, if your child use to look really happy and they went out to lots of social events, you should say “Lately I have noticed you don’t seem to be yourself, you don’t seem to have the same happiness you used to have and you have not been going out so much, have you noticed this too?”

They may be surprised as they may not have noticed this, but this is harder to brush off than asking are you okay.

Respond with empathy, don’t say “you’re getting all upset over nothing” or “Millions of people have it worse off than you.” You should say “That sounds really tough, you must be having a really hard time.”

Contact other adults in your child’s life. Check in with teachers, coaches, school counselors, youth pastors, or leaders to see if they’ve observed anything unusual in his behavior or attitude.

Get a medical evaluation. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to rule out potential medical and physiological factors.

Locate a therapist. Find a good therapist, this does not need to be a Christian therapist, preferably one who specializes in working with adolescents.

Examine yourself. Take a close look at your family history, acknowledge any personal issues that you’ve had with depression, and discuss these matters openly with your child. This will help to normalize his feelings. Any family history of depression is vital information to relay to the medical doctor and therapist.

Sometimes teens can be unsure, a good way to get them to see a therapist is to say, why don’t you go for one session, if you hate it you can leave.


Responding to Depression: What Not to Do

  • As you work through these issues of depression with your child, make sure you don’t:
  • Threaten or offer rewards
  • Being about feelings of shame, eg “The reason you are depressed is because you are weak”
  • Talk too much or offer a lot of unrequested advice (it’s always better to listen),
  • Make light of his or her feelings of hopelessness or despair.


It is vital to know that with the right help, depression is at least manageable if not completely curable.