Where to get help
Encouraging your son or daughter to see a General Practitioner (GP) is a good start. The GP will want to talk to you about your view of the problem, but should speak to the young person alone as well. He or she may then feel more able to open up about things like social drug use and sexual history.
Depending on their age and maturity, teenagers are entitled to confidentiality. However, the doctor or counsellor has a duty of care to inform parents if they believe a teenager’s life is at risk.
Young people who have major depression may be at risk of suicide and if they are, they need urgent help. Consult a doctor, the Emergency Department of your local hospital or a mental health professional (like a psychologist or psychiatrist).
What to expect
Psychological and family therapies are the main treatment for depression and anxiety in young people. The GP may provide the therapy or your teenager may be given a referral to a counsellor or specialist.
Two psychological therapies have been found to be especially helpful — Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). These therapies can help people to change negative thoughts and feelings, encourage them to get involved in activities, speed recovery, prevent depression or anxiety from recurring, and identify ways to manage the illness and stay well.
In severe cases, medication may be required along with other therapies. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and manufacturers of antidepressants do not recommend antidepressant use for depression in young people under the age of 18. For more information see beyondblue Fact Sheet for parents: Antidepressants for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents.
Find a doctor or other mental health professional in your area
- Find a Doctor or other Mental Health Practitioner in your area
- Call the beyondblue information and referral line 1300 22 4636
- Look in the Yellow Pages under Psychologists
- The Australian Psychological Society can help you find a psychologist to suit your needs: phone 1800 333 497 (outside Melbourne), (03) 8662 3300 (in Melbourne) or visit visit www.psychology.org.au.
- The Lifeline National Service Finder: www.lifeline.org.au/find_help/service_finder
Information and support
More information and support is available from the following websites:
beyondblue - www.beyondblue.org.au
More information on depression, anxiety, available treatments and where to get help
headspace - www.headspace.org.au
Information, support and help near you. headspace, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation, provides services, support and information for young people who are having a tough time
ReachOut.com - www.reachout.com
Information and support for young people going through tough times
Centre for Adolescent Health - www.rch.org.au/cah
The Centre for Adolescent Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young people aged between 10 and 24 through providing clinical services, education, training and research.
Raising Children - www.raisingchildren.net.au
Raising Children is a website that provides advice for parents of newborns up to school age children. It offers up-to-date information about a vast range of parenting topics such as child development, behaviour, health, nutrition, fitness and communication.
State-based Parentline Services (counselling and support for parents)
- Parentline QLD & NT - 1300 30 1300 www.parentline.com.au
- Parentline VIC - 13 22 89 www.parentline.vic.gov.au
- Parent Helpline SA - 1300 364 100 www.parenting.sa.gov.au
- Parentline NSW - 1300 1300 52 www.parentline.org.au
- Parent Help Centre WA - (08) 9272 1466 or 1800 654 432 (free for STD callers) www.community.wa.gov.au/Resources/Helplines/Parenting+Line.htm
- Parentline ACT - (02) 6287 3833
- Parenting Line TAS - 1300 808 178
This information is based on information from www.reachout.com.au.