Occasional sadness and irritable mood are normal in teens.

This is especially due to developmental challenges related to identity formation and relationships, inadequate sleep, poor eating habits, and hormonal changes. Depression, however, is different than typical sadness and involves more intense, frequent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, and frustration that make it challenging to function in everyday life. Teens struggling with depression may exhibit social withdrawal, poor motivation and focus, changes in weight and sleep, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, and/or reduction in previously enjoyed activities. In forming a therapeutic relationship with a counselor, teenagers feel understood and empowered while learning ways to manage their feelings. Therapists work with teens to build coping strategies such as challenging negative thoughts, relaxation training, strengthening relationships, and healthy exercise and sleep hygiene.