Helping My Daughter With Low Mood

It is very common (and normal) for teenagers to experience periods of low mood, low self-esteem, moodiness, and irritability. Teens might cry, sleep a lot, have fluctuation in appetite, and hide in their room. It is important to understand that these experiences and changes are often part of typical development and are accounted for in large part by brain development and re-structuring that your daughter is experiencing. 

It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal teen ‘sadness’ and pathological low mood or depression. You can start by looking at:

  • How strong the emotions are, and whether the sadness is present all the time, or comes and goes. 
  • How long the emotions and behaviour are present for. Two weeks or more may be cause for concern. 
  • How much the emotions and behaviours affect your daughter’s schoolwork, relationships and physical health.

If you’re concerned, chat with your daughter in an open, curious and non-judgemental way. What does it feel like to walk in her shoes at the moment? Does she have moments of happiness throughout the day? Does sadness feel all-consuming? See the resources below if you’re still worried. 

First, learn what you can about low mood and depression in young people. Try:

If you’re still concerned, you might like to encourage your daughter to work through some online cognitive behavioural courses with you. Try:

  • THIS WAY UP program This is a free online program, which is completed under the supervision of a clinician (e.g., your GP). Your GP can sign you up. 
  • For older teens (16 years and older), MoodGym is another great (and free) tool. 
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