Depression in Children and Adolescents

Depression is a common mental illness among youth in the United States.

Data from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 2020 estimates that 4.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the US had a major depressive episode in 2020. Rates are higher among adolescent females at 25% compared to adolescent males at 9%.

Child and adolescent depression can present in many different ways, including feeling down or hopeless, irritability, changes in sleep and eating habits, lack of interest in normal activities, withdraw from family/friends, decline in school performance, low energy levels, trouble concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide. Learn more depression facts, as well as additional warning signs of depression at the AACAP Depression Resource Center.

Treatment for depression includes talk therapy and/or prescription medications. Primary care doctors and psychiatric provides can both prescribe medications to treat depression. Visit Psychology Today, a free website that provides help finding a talk therapist.