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13 Intriguing Teen Depression Statistics

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Although it has been neglected for a long time, mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves. There are many debates happening right now that take into account the importance of taking care of our minds as well as our bodies. Although adults are suffering from mental health disorders as well, it is the children that we need to pay special attention to. 

Teen depression statistics paint a very dark picture of the reality that the most fragile ones among us are facing. However, recognizing the problem is the first step in solving it, so let’s get right to it. 

As you will see through the info we have provided, causes of teenage depression aren’t rooted in gender, social status, level of education, race, or sexuality. Although certain groups might be more prone to suffering from this mental illness than others, no teenager is entirely safe. 

This article discusses how to recognize warning signs of depression in teenagers, but also how to seek help for yourself and for others.

What is Teen Depression?

Teenage depression facts clearly show us that every teenager can suffer from this mental illness. Depression can appear in teens as early as 12 years, and more of them are affected as they grow up. Societal pressures, as well as emotional and physical issues, can become too much to bear and quickly evolve into depression. 

Unfortunately, as you are about to see, not many teenagers choose to ask for help, making the issue even worse. In addition, the stigma of a moody and spoiled teenager, especially in the modern-day and age, can lessen the environment’s ability to detect this disorder and act accordingly.

Essential Teen Depression Facts and Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • Depression is the most frequent mental health disorder among US teens and adults
  • Depression affects about 20% of adolescents by the time they become adults
  • Around 2.8 million of the youth aged 12-17 have at least one major depressive episode during the course of a year 
  • Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode
  • Generally speaking, episodes of teen depression last about eight months
  • 30% of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse issue
  • Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, the third leading cause of death among teenagers
  • Less than a third of teens with depression get help
  • 80% of teens with depression can be successfully treated.

Depression in Teens

1. Between 10-15% of teenagers will show symptoms of teen depression at some time. 

(Source: Teen Help)

It might seem like the percentage of teens with depression isn’t that worrying, but when you have in mind that this means several millions of teens, the stakes get incredibly high. What makes the situation worse is the fact that teenagers are way less capable of dealing with their mental health issues than adults, and that anyone aged 12-17 can be susceptible to this serious disorder. 

2. Depression lasts for at least a year at a time for as many as 8.3% of teens.

(Source: Teen Help)

Teen depression stats can be quite worrisome, especially when it comes to depressive episode length. Although not all episodes last long, having someone so young go through the struggles of depression for more than a year can have damaging consequences. The only silver lining is that it gives more time for the issue not to be overlooked and ignored, and allows the adults to step in and offer help. 

3. Among children living below 100% of the federal poverty level, more than one in five (22%) have some sort of a depression disorder. 

(Source: CDC)

Depression statistics get even worse when you include social status as a factor. In fact, 22% of poor children are going to suffer through mental, developmental, or behavioral disorder before they even become adults. 

In addition to this, due to their situation, they are less likely to seek or find a helpful treatment. Having this in mind is important when working with at-risk youth, and the system should provide them with the necessary care.

4. Depression is on the rise, especially amongst teenagers. 

(Source: Public Health, Colombia)

Teenage depression statistics increased over time, with 8.7% of affected individuals in 2005 to 12.7% in 2015. What is also important to note is that teen depression rates are showing a faster rise than any other age group. That only showcases how at-risk children aged 12-17 are, and why they need to be closely monitored and helped as soon as possible.

The Main Causes of Teen Depression

5. Between 20-50% of teens who suffer from depression have a family history. 

(Source: Teen Help)

There are many risk factors for depression in adolescence. However, one clearly takes the lead, and it is the one we can’t really control. Having someone in the family suffering from depression is the most contributing factor, according to statistics relating to teenage depression. Knowing this can help us be aware of the issue and create a course of prevention, not only treatment for the most affected population.

6. 20-40% of the teen patients will have more than one episode within two years.

(Source: Teen Help)

When talking about how many teens have depression, people rarely mention how many of them suffer from it more than once. The majority of teens struggling with depression will go through more than one episode before they go through puberty. 

This statistic is a strong indicator that even when the treatment is effective, we still shouldn’t stop monitoring warning signs. A history of depression is a very strong indicator that the disorder could return, perhaps leaving the teenager in even worse condition.

7. Teens who suffer from clinical anxiety are at a higher risk of depression. 

(Source: Medicine Net)

Teen anxiety statistics are in close correlation with teen depression rates. Suffering from anxiety, but also from ADHD and learning and cognitive problems can make a teenager prone to suffering from depression as well. 

Just like with genetic factors, this is a risk factor that can be taken into consideration much easier than others. After all, the environment, peer pressure, struggles of puberty, and similar are far easier to monitor and control. However, knowing that a history of another mental illness can be a cause of depression allows us to keep better care of our youth that are at risk and react timely. 

8. Regular sleep schedule can reduce the risk of depression by 25%. 

(Source: Everyday Health)

There’s not much you can do for teen depression prevention since there are so many factors that you can’t control. Depression in teenagers statistics show how important genetics is, as well as its connection with other mental diseases. But there is still some level of control and certain lifestyle changes that can have a significant impact on teenagers.

One of the big contributors to mental health is routines and habits that contribute to overall wellness. The sleeping schedule is one of them, and it carries a lot of importance. Maintaining a steady bedtime before 10 PM can have a huge impact on a teenager. Getting eight to nine hours of sleep is always crucial for the overall well-being.

How Serious Are the Consequences of Teen Depression?

9. Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth 10-24 years of age in the United States. 

(Source: Medicine Net)

There is no doubt about it – consequences of depression are severe and long-lasting. Teenage depression statistics are grim and devastating, but when you take into consideration the effects, the situation is far more serious. Teen depression and suicide statistics go hand in hand since 90% of suicide victims suffer from a mental illness. 

In addition to this, suffering from depression can make a teenager as much as 12 times more likely to attempt suicide. These numbers undoubtedly showcase the seriousness of the situation and the need for immediate reaction on behalf of all parties involved. 

10. 15% percent of teens with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder. 

(Source: Teen Help)

Depression is very closely linked to other mental diseases, and bipolar disorder is one of the most prominent examples. When researching teen depression statistics, one must have in mind that it isn’t enough to just calculate how common depression in teens really is. It is also essential to take notice of how serious are the consequences for the teens that are going through it. 

Bipolar disorder is a very consuming illness that requires medication and close monitoring. That means going through depression can leave a teenager forever dependent on physiological and pharmaceutical help. 

11. Those suffering from depression are seven times as likely to suffer from alcohol or substance use disorders. 

(Source: NewPort Academy)

Teen depression and substance abuse often go hand in hand. Not only can substance abuse increase your risk of this mental health disorder, but it can also be one of its biggest consequences. Those who suffer from depression are much more susceptible to becoming victims of alcohol and substance abuse. 

This is especially important for teenagers since they can create a lifelong habit that might be harder to get rid of than the mental disorder itself. 

What Can You Do to Help a Teenager Experiencing Depression?

12. Nearly eight in ten children with depression (78.1%) aged 3-17 received treatment.

(Source: CDC)

One very important thing to note is that as children grow, they are less likely to get the help they need. If we compare the younger children with prepubescent teens, and then with adolescents, a clear decline is visible.

Teen mental health statistics show a significant decrease when it comes to seeking and getting treatment. An answer can be found in the fact that parents are more likely to convince their children to seek help when they are younger and more susceptible to influences. Although it is surely more difficult to influence someone going through puberty, a lot can be gained from seeking treatment. 

13. About one-half of teens who take antidepressants improve their condition. 

(Source: Medicine Net)

Opting to have your teenager severely medicated isn’t an easy call to make. In addition, you must make sure they are actually taking their medication and not neglecting or abusing them. However, the statistics are promising, since improvement is more than visible. 

Teenage depression medications can significantly improve the symptoms for almost half of teens, and that is not something you should ignore. Of course, medicine should always be combined with other treatments that help determine the root of the problem and assist the teenager going through the process. 

However, have in mind that it takes several weeks for the drugs to actually work, so it’s best to be patient and don’t jump to conclusions. 


What percentage of high school students suffer from depression?

Unfortunately, high school depression statistics aren’t quite promising. According to data published by the National Institute for Mental Health in 2016, 3.1. millions of teens have suffered at least one major depressive episode. What is even worse is that 2.2 million of them have experienced severe impairment after the said episode. 

In addition to all the factors mentioned in the article, pressure and the desire for academic achievements also play a major role in high schoolers.

What is the main cause of depression among youth?

Although depression can be hereditary, and a history of mental illness is the most common cause of depression, there are many other factors to take into consideration, such as pressure at home and school, bullying, an experience with a traumatic event, or substance abuse. 

There are many risk factors, and home or schools aren’t always the safest places. This is why it is very important to look for signs of depression in teens and react as soon as you notice something out of the ordinary.

How do you help a teenager with depression?

Teen depression statistics show that depression affects about 20% of adolescents by the time they reach adulthood. That means that every fifth teenager is suffering from it, and the effects can be quite serious. Helping teenagers with depression isn’t just the duty of their parents and school teachers, but society as a whole. 

There are many teen depression treatments one can consider, traditional and alternative. The most common treatment starts with therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and medication if needed. In fact, some of the most common approaches when it comes to treating depression in teens are interpersonal therapy (IPT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

How does puberty affect depression?

If you compare young children struggling with depression and adolescents going through it, you can see a big difference. Adolescent depression statistics are usually worse, since going through such a consuming mental illness during puberty can be much more serious. 

Teens are less likely to report their state, ask for help, and rely on their parents and peers. In addition, suicide rates go up with age, and normal puberty changes and challenges are definitely not a beneficial factor.

What is the treatment for teen depression?

There is no universal treatment that can help every teenager. However, it is important to note that once you find the right and the most efficient treatment for an individual, you can expect improvement. The effects of teenage depression can be very hard to endure, so it’s important to stay committed. 

The first step is to seek professional help in the form of a therapist, counselor, or, in some cases, a psychiatrist. They will come up with the best course of action. The biggest mistake most parents and peers make is to underestimate the influence and the effects of this disease. 

Telling a teenager struggling with depression to just be happy and try harder can have a serious negative impact on his or her mental health. Taking this issue seriously is the first step when it comes to dealing with this illness. 


It would be foolish to say that teen depression statistics offer a lot of room for optimism. Numbers clearly show an increase in the number of adolescents affected, and the seriousness of the effects of this mental illness isn’t decreasing either. It’s clear that anyone dealing with this issue might become hopeless.

However, there is a brighter side. It is important to know that the more we learn about this disease, the better we are at treating it. Parents, guidance counselors, and even peers are better trained to detect the early symptoms of depression in teens and act accordingly. This allows for more teens to be diagnosed early enough and receive adequate care.

To avoid the spread of the disorder and its devastating consequences in the future, the focus should be not only on treatment but also on prevention.