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How can I help my teenage son who is showing signs of depression?


​My teenage son is showing signs of depression and it is affecting his ability to relate to his peers at school and in social situations. He has also stated that he has low self-esteem. How can I help him?


Depressed teen guy

Thank you for reaching out to the Boys Town National Hotline® today. Parenting is not easy, and we know you want what is best for your son. Mental health can be tricky to understand and address, so it's great that you are reaching out today.

A good first step would be to have your son go for a mental health evaluation with a mental health professional, if he has not already. This evaluation will provide you and your son with a better understanding about what is going on mentally and the best ways to address things. Recommendations from a mental health evaluation can include medications, counseling or even an inpatient stay. It will be helpful to read through these recommendations and come up with a plan on what you and the mental health professional believe is best for your son. Below is a list of some places that provide these mental health evaluations:

Beneficial Behavioral Health Services: 402-697-3923

Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic: 531-355-3358

Capstone Behavioral Health: 402-614-8444

Children's Hospital Behavioral Health Department: 402-955-3900

Heartland Family Service: 402-552-7400

 Another resource you can connect with would be the school counselor. This may be put on hold until the next school year begins, but you may still want to check with the school to see if there are any counseling services available during the summer. School counselors are a great first step when looking for additional support as they can introduce your son to counseling and then, if needed, they can help you connect with outside counselors who may be more long-term. If school counseling is not an option, the majority of the previously listed referrals also provide counseling services. This could be something that the facility recommends after the evaluation has been completed.

You can also provide your son with the information for Boys Town's support program called Your Life Your Voice. This is a resource for teens and young adults. The website provides articles, tips, suggestions and even Q&As related to all sorts of topics on mental health, friendships, becoming a young adult, staying safe and others. The website can be found here: Your Life Your Voice. If your son is open to talking about what is going on, he can chat for free with a Boys Town Hotline Crisis Counselor 24/7 via email, text or phone call. This information is located on the main page of the Hotline website.

Parenting can be hard and overwhelming at times, especially as our children continue to age and get into the teenage years. Please know you are not alone in this. You are doing a great job by reaching out and trying to get your son some extra support. If you would ever like to talk on the phone about any parenting questions/concerns you have, or to get additional referrals in Nebraska, feel free to call us at the Boys Town Hotline, or connect with the NE Family Helpline (also available 24/7) at 888-866-8660. We would love to help in any way we can!