Depression in Children and TeensChildhood and teen depression affects about 5 percent of the youth population. The disorder can happen at any point in a child's life, even when things seem to be going well. It can affect the way kids behave at home and at school, how they interact with others, and how they feel about themselves. Children experience depression differently from adults, and they may show different symptoms (see Symptoms of Depression in Children).
Fortunately, just like in adults, depression in children and teens is treatable. The most commonly used treatments are therapy, antidepressant medication, or a combination of the two. Fluoxetine (Prozac®) is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in treating depression in children ages eight and older. However, physicians sometimes prescribe other antidepressant drugs in an "off-label" manner to help treat this condition.
Suicide and DepressionAlthough the majority of people who have depression do not die by suicide, having clinical depression does increase suicide risk, compared to people without the illness.
The risk of death by suicide may, in part, be related to the severity of the depression. New data on depression and suicide suggests that about 2 percent of those people ever treated for the condition in an outpatient setting will die by suicide.
(Click Depression and Suicide for more information on the risk of suicide in people who are depressed.)