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Depression

What Steps Should Be Taken For Depressed Teen

05/16/2007

Question:

Hello, I desperately need help for my daughter, she is depressed, withdrawn, has no friends and trouble making friends. She wants friends however she seems to not fit in with anyone. She is obsessed with a christian band and if allowed would spend night and day doing nothing but watching them on the computer. I`m not sure one on one counseling is the best solution for her, is there a program with other teens who feel isolated, trouble making friends, depressed and who have no one but mom to talk too? She is a good student, no drugs, no acting out. She is just alone, with no friends, cries a lot and feels alone. Could you please help, I don't want to lose my baby, however she has suggested that she doesn't belong anywhere and I'm worried. She has a very low image of herself and doesn't want to go to talk to a counselor, so I thought maybe a group of teens program would help her? Is there a program or a camp or somewhere where she can find friends and belong for once and receive help for her depression? She is 14 years old. Thank You sincerely

Answer:

I agree that from what you say, your daughter needs help. In roundabout ways she is sending out alarm signals to you. The first step toward help is an evaluation by someone she can trust. Try a family doctor, a school counselor, a pastor. I think it's important that she hear from you that you consider this low self-image and isolation a serious problem worthy of professional care. It's important to ask her about hopelessness, safety, and thoughts of suicide. Find out what she understands about depression and its treatment. Discuss with her any relevant family history of depression that might help her make sense of what's going on in her mind. Once you get an evaluation, it will be easier to identify a group, program, or counselor that could provide her with the help she needs.

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Response by:

Lawson  Wulsin, MD Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati