So just how common is childhood depression, and whom does it seem to strike? Here are some facts & statistics about depression in children and teens that will help you better understand the problem.

Facts about depression in children & teens

1. Boys and girls are at roughly equal risk for depression until puberty, at which time rates of depression for girls skyrocket to around double that of boys, for reasons not entirely clear. (Burns, 2011)

2. Depression rates in both sexes spike dramatically during adolescence. (Silberg & Rutter, 2002)

3. Depression is the most common diagnosis reported among adolescents who commit suicide. (Kutcher & Marton, 1996)

4. Follow-up studies of children who are stricken with major depressive disorder show they have a high rate of recurrent depression in adulthood. (Silberg & Rutter, 2002)

Childhood depression statistics

1. Around 11% of adolescents ages 13 to 18 grapple with clinical depression, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. (Burns, 2011)

2. Around one out of every 4 adolescent girls is likely to experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression. (Lieman & Scott-Collins, 1999)

3. One out of every ten high school students experiences some sort of severe depression during the high school years. (McCracken, 1992)

4. Rates of depression are 3 to 4 times higher among children of depressed parents as among those parents who aren’t depressed. (Cloud, 2009)

5. Currently, around 5% of adolescents experience an episode of clinical depression in any given year. (ibid) Twenty-percent eventually do.

6. Some studies suggest that children with preschool depression are 6-times likelier than other kids to be depressed later in childhood. Others claim as many as 90% of preschoolers with depression are still impaired when they reach school age. (Cloud, 2009)

7. Female adolescents diagnosed with major depressive disorders have a 12-fold increase in suicide risk compared to other girls and are twice as likely as their male peers to attempt suicide. (Stanard, 2000)

8. Among young people with a major depressive disorder research has found the use of illicit drugs was more than double – 37% compared to 17.8%. (Lloyd, 2012)

9. Among the 12% of the nation’s children ages 12 to 17 who had a major depressive disorder in 2010, only 38% received treatment. (ibid)

10. Depression rates among U.S. teens rose to around 13% in 2016, up from nearly 8% in 2006. (Bernstein, 3-6-2018)

11. Almost 60% of adolescents with a major depressive disorder don’t receive treatment. (ibid)