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.

“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?

“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.

“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

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