Teens & Depression


Local Resources

United Parents: Parent mentors, local support groups and referrals, respite and parenting workshops - Call (805) 384-1555 or click here

Interface Children & Family Services: Call (805) 485-6114 or click here

Aspiranet: For families at risk of out-of-home placement; foster care and adoption services - Call (805) 289-0120 or click here

Kids & Families Together: For children and their families, including kinship and foster caregivers - Call (805) 643-1446 or click here

City Impact: Counseling services and early intervention and prevention programs. Call (805) 983-3636 or click here

Casa Pacifica: Services include residential for children and non-public special education and therapeutic preschool - Call (805) 445-7800 or click here

Helping your child succeed at school: Ventura County SELPA - Call (805) 437-1560 or click here

For assessment and referral: Call the VCBH STAR Team at (866) 998-2243.

There is a program in Ventura County to help identify and get help for psychosis early. If you or someone you care about shows possible signs of psychosis (and is between 16-25 years old), call (805) 642-7033 or click VIPS for more information. The VIPS program is offered by Ventura County Behavioral Health in partnership with Telecare Corporation.

In Ventura County, the 2015-16 California Healthy Kids Survey reports that 1 in 3 teens in 11th grade felt "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that [they] stopped doing some usual activities."

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, over 12% of teens aged 12 to 17 "had at least one major depressive episode" in the previous year.


There are many reasons teens could seem depressed, from bullying to drug abuse to schoolwork being stressful. It's normal for teens to have ups and downs in mood due to hormones and life changes. How can you tell the difference between what's normal and problems including depression? “Pay attention to worry signs." But keep in mind, "what parents should do is mostly listen, that should be 90 percent of the conversation," says Dr. Benjamin Shain, head of the child at adolescent psychiatry division at NorthShore University Health System in a recent New York Times article.

Tips for listening:

  • Ask open ended questions
  • It may be easier to talk and listen while driving or running an errand
  • Don't lecture or judge
  • Make time to talk regularly


  • Persistent sadness or negative mood
  • Not coping with daily activities
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating
  • Complaining more than usual about physical problems
  • Trouble concentrating

If symptoms seem serious and are affecting everyday life, it's time to reach out for help. Start with your healthcare provider. See additional resources on this page and the links below.

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Sources: "Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?", New York Times, Feb. 13, 2017

California Healthy Kids Survey, Ventura County Office of Education