HTH: Discerning Depression In Our Teens


A Note from the Editors: Pastor Scott Sauls has said the following: “Studies indicate that when we suffer mental illness alone, the results can be tragic, even horrific. When we suffer inside a support system, however – when we bring our pain and sorrow and stress into the light in the context of redemptive community – the chances of coping well become exponentially higher.” Far too often in recent months, Americans have experienced the tragic and horrific results of untreated mental illness even as we struggle with mental health challenges in our own hearts and homes. Mental illness isolates the sufferer and destroys community at every level, from friendship to family to church to city. Teenagers are at the forefront of this epidemic. At Rooted, we seek to be a small part of your support system, just as you seek to support and encourage the students in your care. This week, we will share articles that examine different facets of mental health, remembering that no matter the challenges we face, we have a living hope in Jesus Christ.

For both parents and youth ministers:

Often in youth ministry, we are put in the position of triaging our students, of discerning whether an issue or struggle of theirs is within the normal limits of adolescence or if they are in need of more significant care (e.g. professional mental health counseling) than we can offer as ministers. As parents, we may feel even less qualified to discern the state of a suffering child’s mental health.  This article by Rhett Smith (shared by counselor and Steering Committee member Liz Edrington) does an excellent job of providing some helpful steps for navigating what may be depression in a teen.  He begins with the question, “How do I know if he’s depressed or if this is just normal teenage behavior?”


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