AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local professor weighing in on the signs of depression in teens.
“A lot of parents can kind of feel locked out as far as their child’s emotional state goes,” says Dr. Peeples.
Dr. Dale Peeples is an Associate Professor in the department of psychiatry at Augusta University. He says there are several warning signs that kids and teens will display if they’re experiencing depression.
He says, “You want to keep in mind that kids, especially younger kids can really demonstrate a lot of irritability. Anger and irritability can also be a warning sign of depression.”
He says next to that kids and teens will display social withdrawal and lack of interest.
“Not wanting to be around friends and family and moving away from hobbies and activities they use to enjoy,” said Dr. Peeples.
While those are the key characteristics of depression, there are other factors to look for.
“Changes in sleep, decrease in appetite, declining school performance, children saying they’re feeling hopeless,” said Dr. Peeples.
And sometimes, especially for teens, it can be hard for them to open up about those emotions to their parents.
Dr. Peeples says “Because they’re in the phase of life where confiding in their parents a little bit less and their turning to their peers and talking to them a little bit more”
And even though teens may put up an emotional wall towards their parents and loved ones, Dr. Peeples says there are still ways to get around that wall.
“Trying to have a family meal together, every evening can be good to try and keep each other engaged and get a sense of how a child is looking day in and day out,” he said.
And if you notice your child is opening up to their friends more, Dr. Peeples says knowing your children’s friends and keeping in touch with them can be another key factor in getting a sense of how your child is feeling.
“I’ve known a number of kids who have reached out to a friend on social media, you know, hey, I’m thinking about killing myself and it was actually the friend that told the parent what was going on and the parents helped their child get help,” he said.
And lastly, Dr. Peeples says while you want to respect your children’s privacy, parents should regularly monitor their social media and pay close attention to what they’re posting.