Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

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Teenage Depression


One of the major contemporary issues that teenagers face today is depression. Teenage depression is a mental health issue that leads to teenagers feeling sad and losing interest in activities (NIMH, n.d.). While it affects how one feels, thinks, or behaves, it also causes physical, emotional and functional problems. As argued by Kroning & Kroning (2016), teenage depression is a life-threatening concern today. A National comorbidity study in 2001-2004 consisting of 10,123 teens revealed that 11% of them suffered from depression. A 2015 report by the World Health Organization revealed that over 350 million suffered from depression globally. The National Institute of Mental Health found that in 2013, 2.7 teenagers aged 12 to 17 underwent a major depressive episode (Kroning & Kroning, 2016). Teenage depression as argued by Grand Canyon University (2018) is the leading cause of teenage suicide and suicide has become the second cause of death in youth aged 10-24 years.

External Stressors

There are several external stressors associated with depression in teenagers. One of the major stressors is bullying. Bullying has been a growing concern and is estimated to affect 20-30% of the students in the U.S. In the last few decades; society has [cmppp_restricted] evolved more with the rise of the internet and teenagers’ bullying has changed significantly. With the rise of social media, bullying has taken a new form and bullies are able to remain anonymous while hurting their victims without any care. With more than 80% of teenagers having social media accounts, cyberbullying has become a menace (Grand Canyon University, 2018). Another major stressor is social networks such as social media, friendships, and peer influencers. Teenagers often have the desire to form their own identity with age and stop being dependent on their parents. However, this leads to feelings of inner struggle and confusion. As their bodies develop, the feeling of self-esteem kicks in as society portrays idealistic body perfection.

Assessment Strategies

The head-to-toe assessment can be used to screen for depression in teenagers. This assessment starts the minute the nurse meets the patient. The nurse is able to observe the patient’s mood, consciousness level and hygiene. The nurse then conducts a head-to-toe assessment starting with the vital signs and then moving to neurologic assessment. Depressed teenagers as discussed above can cause physical, emotional and functional problems. The assessor should thus look for any physical anomalies such as changes in mood as well as emotional changes such as a high level of fear (Grand Canyon University, 2018). A Focused Neurological Assessment will identify any functional problems. This assessment starts with observing mood, behavior and ability to converse with the assessor.

There are additional questions that the assessor should ask such as whether the patients have ever been a victim of bullying. Another major question should focus on self-esteem by focusing on how the patient feels about themselves. Another question should focus on social networks to identify instances of cyberbullying, peer pressure, and failed relationships. Patient assessor confidentiality should be maintained at all levels. Information about the confidentiality of information should be provided to the teenage patient, and no such information should be released to the parents or guardian without patient’s consent. The parents and guardian should be educated on the importance of confidentiality (Grand Canyon University, 2018). However, in case of safety concerns such as jeopardy, harming others or bodily harm it is ethical to disclose such information for the safety of the patient and others. However, the patients should be aware of instances when confidential information can be disclosed.

Support Options 

A major support option involves building skills and education. There should be programs that educate teenagers on how to deal with stressors such as bullying. Such programs can be instituted at the society level or at schools. On the other hand, teenagers at greatest risk should be identified and offered more customized help. Parents and teachers should also be aware of what to assess to identify when teenagers are suffering from depression. For teenagers suffering from depression, a good support option is peer support. This involves receiving help from other teenagers who have suffered from a similar problem. Such help can occur through social support groups. In extreme cases, secondary support can also be integrated into the patient’s support system. This can be done through the introduction of a case manager the case manager plans, assess and implements different measures to facilitate recovery of the patient (Dummett & Williams, 2018). The use of these strategies can ensure that a teenager suffering from depression receive adequate care.



Dummett, N., & Williams, C. (2018). Overcoming Teenage Low Mood and Depression: A Five Areas Approach. CRC Press.

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2018). Health assessment: Foundations for effective practice. Retrieved from

Kroning, M., & Kroning, K. (2016). Teen depression and suicide: a silent crisis. Journal of Christian nursing33(2), 78-86.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH » Teen Depression. Retrieved from [/cmppp_restricted]

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