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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Teenagers’ Mental Health Struggles

A weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

February 28, 2023

The news about teenagers’ mental health keeps getting more alarming. The CDC reported last week that more than half of the teenage girls in their most recent survey said they felt persistent sadness or hopelessness (57% in 2021 compared to 36% in 2011). And 30% said they have seriously considered suicide (up from 19%). The news on boys’ mental health wasn’t as bad, but the percentages who said they had experienced persistent sadness or hopelessness or considered suicide increased among boys, too.

One of the chilling things about the CDC report is that the increase in mental health struggles doesn’t look like a pandemic surge — it started around 2012 and hasn’t let up. We note that 2012 is about the time that social media started taking over so much of the social lives of teenagers, especially girls.

This week we round up resources on recognizing the signs of depression in teenagers and what to to do if you’re worried. We explore how Instagram and TikTok may be harming teenagers, and how to talk to kids who you think may be having suicidal thoughts. And because the CDC report indicates that LGBTQ+ and Black teens may be at particular risk, we include resources for understanding the mental health challenges they often face.

Related Resources

Mood Disorders and Teenage Girls

What to look for and why they are more vulnerable than boys.


What to Do if You Think Your Teenager Is Depressed

Start by listening without judgment, not trying to 'fix' them.


Does Social Media Use Cause Depression?

How Instagram and TikTok may be affecting kids negatively.


Signs a Child Might Be Suicidal

What to watch out for and how to help.


What to Do if You're Worried About Suicide

A parent's guide to helping a child in distress.


Mental Health Challenges of LGBTQ+ Kids

A look at risk factors and protective factors.


Misdiagnosis of Mood Disorders in Teenagers of Color

What we know about it, and how parents can help kids get the right diagnosis.


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