Adolescent depression is a common mental health problem characterized by irritable or sad mood that causes significant problems at home, school, and in relationships.

Scope in Pediatrics

  • Adolescents with depression often experience irritability or sadness; changes in their energy, sleep, appetite, and concentration; social withdrawal; feeling of hopelessness; and suicidal thoughts 
  • More than 1 out of 10 adolescents (11.3%) in the US suffer from depression  
    1 out of 6 US high school students have seriously considered suicide 
  • Yet, only a minority of teens with depression receive adequate screening and treatment 

Teaching Points

  • Brief screening tools, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Item modified for teens, can be used to identify adolescents at risk for depression or suicide 
  • Adolescents with depression +/- anxiety, but without suicidal intent, recent suicide attempt, a history of trauma, or a family history of bipolar can be treated in the primary care setting 
  • Combination treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are most effective for moderate severity depression 

Free Apps

  • What’s App 
  • Stop, Breathe, Think 
  • Headspace 

Additional Information


For COVID related questions, please email
For Mental Health related questions, please email
Brought to you by AAP Education. For more educational content visit

Special Acknowledgment

The AAP gratefully acknowledges support for the Pediatric Mental Health Minute in the form of an educational grant from SOBI.