The medical community once thought depression affected only adults. The risk for the condition can begin in childhood or the early teens, however, and increases steadily through the mid-20s. Around 11 percent of young people will have experienced an episode of depression by the end of his or her teenage years.

Depression in children, teens, and young adults is much more than a phase. It’s a real condition that can interfere with daily life, lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior, and go on to affect a person throughout life.

What is depression?
We all have times when we feel down or sad. Depression is a feeling of sadness, despair, or hopelessness that does not go away. In someone with depression, this feeling can last for weeks or months and interfere with the person’s ability to participate in everyday activities. Depression affects mood, outlook, thoughts, and behavior. It also can cause fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, headaches, and insomnia.