Depression Among Tweens

Written in Partnership with In the City Camps

Even before the pandemic that changed the world (especially for kids, tweens and teens), depression among tweens was on the rise. 

The suicide rate among people ages 10 to 14 tripled between 2007 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And according to U.S. News and World Report, tweens are experiencing major depression nearly 50 percent more often nowadays, which dramatically increases their risk of suicide. 

Research published in Pediatrics showed that about half of the time, parents are not aware of their tweens’ suicidal thoughts. Because of all the biological and emotional challenges associated with the preteen years, tweens are less likely than teenagers to talk about their feelings. 

So what can parents do to determine whether their tween is having an emotional crisis?

  • Know that the typical signs of depression in adults (sleeping or eating too much) also display themselves in tweens and might not be part of their regular hormonal changes.
  • Understand that at least 50 percent of depressed tweens exhibit irritability or rage rather than low energy or sadness.
  • Recognize that moodiness is normal among tweens, but it’s important to talk to a trusted healthcare practitioner or other professional, such as a teacher or a rabbi, if there is any doubt in your mind. 

Because about 66 percent of cases of tween depression go untreated, parents and other caregivers need to become more vigilant about the difference between normal moodiness and mental illness. A lot of caregivers fear their child or family will be stigmatized if they seek help. But with tween suicide rates continuing upward, asking for help is literally a matter of life and death. 

If you or someone you know may be suicidal, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. You can also chat with someone online by visiting 988lifeline.org

Another option is to contact the Crisis Text Line for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) by texting NAMI to 741741. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

All options are free and have trained crisis counselors.

The Blue Dove Foundation recently partnered with In the City Camps, to talk about important issues related to raising mentally healthy children and fostering mental wellness within our children. We hope you find them as helpful and impactful as we do.

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