By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Adolescents are moody by nature, so how can parents tell when their child is just being a teen or whether he or she is truly depressed? WBZ-TV’s Dr. Mallika Marshall spoke with Liam Martin about depression in teenagers and what parents should look out for.

A new national poll shows parents are worried they might miss the warning signs. Marshall said the preteen and teen years are periods of great changes and it’s a crucial time for adults to watch for red flags.

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“Rates of depression and anxiety among preteens and teenagers is on the rise and the suicide rate among young people ages 10-24 has also risen significantly,” she said. “It’s very important for parents to be aware.”

The recent survey from the University of Michigan found that 40% of parents struggle to distinguish depression from normal ups and downs. So what can parents do?

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“You want to look for pretty significant changes,” Marshall said, pointing to signs like isolation, anger and changes in appetite or sleep. “Check in frequently.”

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Besides asking their children how things are going, parents can also reach out to teachers to see if they’ve noticed a change in behavior.

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“The other thing you can talk to your teen about is identifying a trusted adult, whether it’s one of you as parents, or a grandparent, or a teacher, or a mentor, someone that they feel like they can confide in if something’s going on,” Marshall said.

Dr. Mallika Marshall