Posted by Melissa Burlaga
It can be difficult for parents to tell the difference between the signs of teen depression and typical teen behavior.
Yet experts say the risks of missing out on more serious issues is huge, prompting the American academy of pediatrics to issue a 160-page guide to help doctors identify and treat mental illness in children and teens.
Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect with kids.
For almost ten years, Chad McCord suffered silently from severe depression and bipolar disorder.
"He said, 'and I always felt this whole time that I was the only one who ever had these thoughts that I was the only one that had a problem like this'."
After less than a year of treatment, he committed suicide.
The American academy of pediatrics has developed new tools to help doctors screen and assess for psychiatric disorders, develop care plans and educate parents.
"There's a deep seeded shame about mental illness. And so when there's a problem with their thinking or their feeling, there's a natural inclination to feel ashamed or embarrassed or to have other people say 'oh just pull yourself together'."
"These kids are labeled as far as not trying or not caring or get over it, and they can't, they can't."
Experts say that parents need to re-think the seriousness of depression:
It isn't just a bad mood that kids can solve themselves.
"And it's gonna take a lot of work for people to understand that those approaches not only will they not help, but they'll lead to a lot of people not getting treatment and in some tragic cases they'll be people that'll go on probably to complete suicides."
He says it's important for parents to look for signs of depression or serious stress, and then treat it just like any other illness .
"It's not something that they can fight themselves. They need professional help."
"Come on Chad, let's go buddy!"