There are numerous sources of information quoting statistics of the prevalence of teenage depression and these statistics appear to be increasing every year. But what is the value of knowing the grim reality facing the youth of our generation. Well historical statistics will indicate that teen depression was almost unheard of about 15 years ago, yet today the average statistics seem to indicate that a staggering 20% of teenagers will experience depression before they reach 18. One could argue that lack of knowledge and awareness of the signs and symptoms of teenage depression may have resulted in many teens being undiagnosed and simply labelled 'typical' teenagers. But extensive research and statistical evidence have brought this growing problem to the forefront of mental health programmes worldwide. Statistics of teen depression, regardless of how disturbing, helps us to recognize that it is a problem shared by many and has resulted in a growing resource of help and support.
An even more unsettling statistic is that out of the 20% of teens that experience depression, only 33% receive help or follow through on the recovery process. Educational and awareness campaigns are aimed at family and friends as well as depressed teens themselves in order to reduce the number of undiagnosed cases of teen depression, as research indicates that 80% of teenagers who access the appropriate services can be successfully treated. Given the evidence of success of appropriate treatment and intervention, it is sad that the statistics report about 90% of suicide cases to be linked to depression or other mental conditions, especially when approximately 1 million American teens attempt to commit suicide every year.
Another useful outcome of statistical research into the prevalence of teen depression is that it highlights key precipitators or risk factors in the teen population. For example, the evidence suggests that girls are twice more likely to experience depression than boys. There is also evidence of a small percentage of teenagers that suffer from seasonal depression, usually during winter months and in higher latitudes. Also, in almost 50% of teen depression cases there is a family history of depression or other mental condition. These statistics have resulted in mental health programmes and awareness campaigns being more focused to reach more vulnerable groups.
These statistics tell us that parents, as well as teenagers themselves need to be aware of the risk of depression in individuals who endure intense emotional or social difficulties, or have experienced recent trauma or loss. It is also important to be aware that 70% of teens who do suffer with depression will have more than one episode before adulthood. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression early, friends and family of the depressed teen can assist him or her to seek help early and provide the invaluable support in the teenager's time of need. This will be the key to lowering the unsettling statistics of teen depression in the future.