Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency


You might be concerned that your child is experiencing more than just a ‘down day’. As a parent of young adults, you will be aware of the lightening changes in mood that young people go through. Mood disorders such as depression are amongst the most problems experienced by young people. 

It is estimated that roughly 20% of young people between 15 and 25 years of age will experience depression (Kessler et al 2005). 

Each person’s experience of depression will be different; some will experience mild to moderate forms of depression whilst others will experience what is referred to as major depression. People use the word depression to mean different things. We all feel down or sad from time to time that’s just part of being human. But, it’s important to know the difference between sadness and depression. It’s also important to know when depression is becoming a problem. Sadness is a feeling that is a reaction to something, like a breakup or losing someone. Depression becomes an illness or a problem when the feelings of sadness last for a lot longer than normal and seem to cast a dark cloud over life, stopping someone from enjoying most things and from taking part in activities that used to be enjoyable and easy to do.  Major depression is the depressive illness with which people are most familiar. Major depression usually happens in episodes. A depressive episode tends to build up slowly over a couple of weeks or more. Young people often experience depression in the same way adults do, with the exception that young people often have more mood swings or are more irritable and sensitive than usual. This can make major depression difficult to diagnose as some people may just believe the problem to be “teenage problems”. 

Adapted from www.foroige.ie 

For more information on depression visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie, www.aware.ie and www.reachout.com 

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