Help my son’s depressed! More than 2000 boys have gone through The Quest Project®, and yes, some were in various stages of depression. It’s important to first determine, is it depression or sadness. There’s a big difference!
If he and his girlfriend just broke up, his best friend just moved, a death of a loved one or pet and he’s very sad, don’t over re-act, he’s sad and sadness is a normal feeling when we grieve or experience loss. Feeling sad is part of a process we go through in order to heal.
On the other hand:
Becoming the victim of a bully has become a very common issue. In severe circumstances when a boy keeps that to himself (they internalize their emotions) over an extended period, the anger he has "bottled up" can turn to depression.
Another common issue is with boys carrying a "dad wound.” Male adolescents are innately hungry for their dad’s approval and attention and in severe cases they again will internalize feelings of extreme sadness which can lead to depression.
Depression is a continuous feeling of hopelessness it can be accompanied by suicidal ideation. Anger turned inward (squelched) can lead to depression. If depression sets in it can be difficult to overcome, it does not get better on its own and if not addressed can be carried into adulthood, where it’s typically treated with medication. Don’t wait….seek the help of a professional counselor!
Here are some of the signs to watch for:
- emotional changes
- sadness and hopelessness
- irritability, anger, or hostility
- withdrawal from friends and family
- loss of interest in activities
- feelings of worthlessness, guilt, fixation on past failures
- self-blame or self-criticism
- trouble thinking or concentrating
- ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
- changes in eating and sleeping habits
Depression in teenagers, teenage boys in particular can be tricky to deal with. It can be hard for a parent to distinguish between normal adolescent mood swings and something more severe.
Parents who think their child might be depressed, shouldn’t wait, they should be encouraged to take the first step and make an appointment with a counselor. Talk to the school counselor or a local mental health resource center ASAP. Seek out a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who specializes in dealing with teenage depression. With proper attention they will have the ability to work through what is triggering the depression.
In The Quest Project® I work with male adolescents in an age appropriate group dynamic for 10 weeks. We work on anger, forgiveness, conflict resolution, values and host of processes designed to build confidence and character. Through these processes I can determine the root cause of their depression and help them heal.
For more information on this and other topics follow Dr. Clayton Lessor on social media:
Facebook: The Quest Project-Clayton Lessor, PhD, LPC
LinkedIn: The Quest Project
Clayton Lessor, PhD, LPC founded The Quest Project in 1996 and has since helped 2,000+ boys turn their life around to become the next Generation of Men. He is the author of two books, “Saving Our Sons-A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success” and “Generation of Men-How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men.” Dr. Clay is an expert in childhood trauma and male adolescent development.