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Teen Sadness May Be Depression

Tuesday, Feb 09, 2016

In the latest episode, experts discuss the difference between sadness and depression as well as how to help a teenager who is depressed.

Teenagers are known for having mood swings and bouts of irritability, but there is a chance the teen may be depressed and not just sad or moody. Depression in teens is a real, treatable health problem.

In 2014, an estimated 2.8 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This number represented 11.4% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17.

In the second episode of Season Two of Health Matters with Doylestown Health, a panel of experts shares insights into the symptoms of depression and the difference between temporary sadness and major depression.

Carol Klein, RN, BSN, M.Ed. has been a Certified School Nurse at Central Bucks West High School for 14 years. She talks about both physical and mental symptoms of depression in teens.

Depression Symptoms May Include:

  • Sadness that lasts a long time, out of which the teen cannot emerge
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Withdrawal from activities or friends the teen used to enjoy
  • Sense of despair or hopelessness
  • Physical symptoms can include stomachaches, headaches, loss of concentration

Sadness or feeling "down" is a natural human emotion. Loss of a loved one or a stressful life event can result in grief or discouragement. But teens generally work through the sadness and start to improve over time. Depression can last for weeks, months or even longer.

Sharon Curran is a licensed Clinical Social Worker. "There is a difference between situational depression and chronic, long-term depression," said Sharon, Associate Executive Director of the Lenape Valley Foundation, which provides services to children and adults with mental health, substance use, intellectual or developmental challenges. She also discusses the ties between depression and alcohol or drugs and how early intervention can help prevent drug and alcohol abuse.

It's important that a depressed teen get help as soon as possible. When talking with friends or family is not enough, it's time to consider professional help.

J. Stone, Psy.D. is a certified school psychologist. He discusses the importance of addressing depression early, before it becomes debilitating or has the teen thinking about self-harm or suicide.

"As a society we've gotten better at early intervention," said Dr. Stone. "Therapy is a very popular way of dealing with struggles, and people do it all the time – because it works."

Heath Matters Season 2 Episode 2: Teen Depression from Central Bucks School District on Vimeo.

About Health Matters with Doylestown Health

Health Matters with Doylestown Health is an informative half-hour show airing on the Central Bucks School District cable network CBTV. The show's format features expert guests from Doylestown Health, the community and the CB School District discussing timely topics of interest to local families. CB students studying broadcasting tape the show in the studio at CB South High School under the direction of the district's broadcast professional. Doylestown Health produces the show in conjunction with the students, who also act as co-hosts and help develop questions for the panel of guests.

Viewers can watch CBTV on Comcast channel 28 and Verizon Fios channel 40 in municipalities that comprise the Central Bucks School District.

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