My Teen is Depressed – How This Impacts School

My Teen is Depressed – How This Impacts School Performance

If you are reading this, you are among the many parents whose teens likely have depression. This can be SO frustrating and hard to watch as a parent, especially when your teen’s academic and social life are impacted by symptoms of depression. 

The number of teens reporting depression has drastically increased in recent years. Between 2005-2014, teens reporting a major depressive episode increased 37% (Source). With more and more teens reporting depression it’s important to know that depression can significantly impact school performance. Cognitive and behavioral symptoms can make a seemingly typical academic setting feel daunting and overwhelming . Below are just a few symptoms of depression that are most impactful when it comes to school.

    • Trouble Concentrating
    • Memory Difficulties
    • Loss of Motivation
    • Decreased Interest in Hobbies/Extra-curriculars
    • Social Withdrawal
    • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
Depressed Teen Impacts School Performance

Depressed teenage girl is isolated and withdrawn at school

Symptoms can play on each other and ultimately lead to declining grades and increased absences. The dates and events in history class can seem impossible to keep straight and devoting the time and energy to sort it out can be rife with interruptions and feel just plain exhausting. Additionally, the thought of making small talk with peers or being around friends that don’t seem to understand what’s going on leads to social isolation.

If you are noticing symptoms of depression or suspect that depression may be a factor in your teen’s declining school performance, talk to your teen about it. And if they don’t feel comfortable opening up to you, encourage them to connect with a school counselor or outside counselor to gain support around their changing school performance.

What have you done as a parent to help your teen get through a period of depression during the school year?

Blog written by Sentier therapist, Katie Fleuriet, MSW, LICSW