Depression in Youth: Depression in people under 40

When it comes to age, depression isn’t picky. It can impact someone at any age, for a variety of reasons. If you’re concerned about a friend or family, regardless of age, please contact us for professional assistance.

Causes of depression in youth and children

As adults, we can forget what it’s like to be a kid; the stress of family dynamics, the pressures of school, the highs and lows of relationships with other kids. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) says that “very likely, a depressed child will think that no one else feels the same way and that no one will understand his/her problems. Often, a depressed child will feel that he/she is disliked by everyone.” If you think a child might be depressed, encourage them to talk about it; CMHA notes it’s unlikely they’ll open up on their own. Check with a teacher or school counsellor to see what resources might be available through the school.

Causes of depression in young adults

In teenagers, depression can take on a more serious tone; suicide is the third leading cause of death for young adults aged 10-24 according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be harder to notice depression in teens; all teenagers go through hormonal changes and psychological development – testing boundaries, gaining independence, and questioning both themselves and how they fit into the world around them. says there are important differences in symptoms between youth and adults. Youth are more likely to have

  • an irritable or angry mood, instead of sadness
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • extreme sensitivity to criticism
  • withdrawing from some, but not all, people

Getting help for depressed teens is critical; people who first get depression in their teens are at a higher risk of being depressed later in life, living with other mental health issues, and suicide.

Women who’ve recently given birth (postpartum)

Women are twice as likely to experience depression than men in general, but postpartum depression in particular affects a significant number of women (including those over the age of 40). About half of new mothers experience feelings of sadness and irritably after giving birth, but these symptoms typically go away within a week or two. However, 10-15% of new mothers develop postpartum depression, which lasts longer and can involve thoughts of hurting themselves or the baby.

Treatment of depression

At any age, treatment varies from one person to another. There are many factors a professional will consider including age, severity of the depression, and whether a particular type of treatment has worked in the past. Options for treatment include psychotherapy (counselling), medications, and other treatments like light therapy and physical activity. If you or someone you know needs help, please get in touch.