As with adults, there is no one specific thing we can point to and say “that causes depression.” With most teens, there will be a variety of factors that can contribute to their depression. If you as a teenager or if your teenager has experienced some or all of the following factors, it is much more likely that there is a very real danger for depression.

Depression may sound alarming, and if left untreated, it can be very serious. However, there are resources out there both for teens and their parents. You are not alone, and you are not the first one to have to face this situation. There is help available.

What Causes Depression in Teens?

Hormones are the bane of teenagers everywhere. One moment they are feeling great, the next moment everything is terrible, and the world is ending. The radical swings drag emotions along for the ride, and it can be next to impossible to tell the difference between reality and how real things feel at the moment. During these radical swings, the hormones can become and stay unbalanced, which could either cause or trigger depression.

Biological chemistry

We all have neurotransmitters, which are naturally occurring brain chemicals. These chemicals carry signals all over your body and in your brain. Depression can occur when these chemicals are abnormal or impaired.


Studies show us that depression often runs in families. So if a close family member is currently or has suffered from depression, your teen is likely to be more susceptible. This is no one’s fault; depression seems to follow bloodlines.

Performance Related Stress

In today’s society, there seems to be an ever-increasing pressure on teens to perform, whether it is in academia, sports, scholarships, community service, music, and more. If teens are expected to excel no matter what, that is a lot of pressure during an already emotionally difficult time. Many teens have not been taught the coping skills yet to balance everything and can become hopeless and depressed.

Traumatic Life Events

This can cover a bit of a wide collection of issues. Parents that are separating or in the middle of a divorce, while common today, can still be very traumatic for teens. This situation brings with it a lot of uncertainty, confusion and sometimes guilt. Other traumatic events can include the death of a loved one, abuse, and physical or emotional neglect.

Lack of Control

Teens are in a difficult place of being much more aware of the circumstances going on around them; divorce, parents fighting, family financial issues, emotional issues of other family members, etc. But they are still teens and don’t have control or much of a say in these factors that affect them on a personal level. They are almost adults, but not yet. The feelings of helplessness that many teens feel as a result can easily lead to depression.

Remember you are not the only parent to worry about your teen. You are not alone. Your teen is not the first one to need help, and they are not alone. We are here to help. Our crisis line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Please call 907-789-7654 or 1-877-JYS-HELP.