Why Are High School Students Depressed?

The majority of high schoolers suffer depression in silence. But why? What are the signs and reasons high school students are depressed?

A great deal of high school students are depressed, and it should no longer be overlooked. Below, we will further dig into the topic. 

Why Are High Schoolers Depressed?

Unfortunately, there is not just one response to this question. When touching base on this topic, there is a lot to be explored. And more needs to be done about it.

Reasons why high school students are depressed

High school students are often under a great deal of stress and pressure, which can lead to feelings of depression. Some of the factors that may contribute to depression in high school students include academic pressure, social and relationship problems, bullying, and family issues.

Additionally, hormonal changes that occur during adolescence can also play a role in the development of depression. It is essential for students, parents, and teachers to be aware of the signs of depression and to seek help if needed, as untreated depression can have serious consequences.

Where The Road Leads

Teens can often think that things won’t get better. They continue to struggle alone and helplessly through one of the most fundamental periods of their lives.

Some will recover. Nevertheless, it is estimated only 30% of students with depression go through treatment. Throughout this time, many suffer without asking for help. Sadly, young people (15-24 years old) are turning to suicide, making it the third-leading cause of death. 

Factors That Increase The Probability Of Having Depression

Though anyone could go through depression, certain factors may affect a teen’s probability of having it. For instance, teens that have gone through trauma, abuse, or neglect are more at risk.

Students whose parents are divorced or who had to grieve the death of a parent could suffer from depression more often. Additional mental, physical or chronic issues and a family history of mental illnesses also increase chances. Lastly, females tend to develop depression more often than males. 

Expanding On The Reasons High School Students Are Depressed

There are many reasons why high school students may experience depression—some of which many parents have experienced and might be able to understand. 

Academic Pressure

One of the main reasons is academic pressure. High school students often feel a lot of pressure to do well in school and get good grades to get into a good college or university. 

This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, which can contribute to feelings of depression. High school can begin to feel like a competition, turning your friends into your foes. This can create a sense of competition and pressure that can be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of depression.

Furthermore, students may feel that they must strive for perfection in their studies constantly and cannot afford to make any mistakes.

In addition to the pressure to perform well academically, high school students may also feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do. They may have a heavy workload, with numerous assignments and tests to prepare for, and this can be exhausting. 

High school students may also have to balance their academic responsibilities with other commitments, such as extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and family obligations. All of these demands can make it difficult for students to manage their time and can lead to feelings of burnout and depression.

The competitive nature of the education system can also contribute to academic pressure and depression in high school students. Students may feel that they are constantly being compared to their peers and must continually strive to outperform them to succeed. 

Overall, academic pressure is a significant source of stress and depression for many high school students. It is crucial to recognize the early. Ensure that students are able to cope with the demands of high school and thrive academically.

Family Life 

Various family issues can also play a role in the development of depression in high school students. If a student is dealing with problems at home, such as a strained relationship with a parent or a difficult home life, this can add to the stress and pressure they are already feeling.

Household problems can be a significant source of stress and depression for high school students. There are many different ways in which family problems can impact a student’s mental health.

High school students may be going through significant transitions in their family life, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or a move to a new location. These changes in family structure can be difficult to cope with and can lead to feelings of sadness and loss.

Teens may experience conflict with their parents or siblings, which can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, and isolation. At times being compared to your siblings can create a sense of challenge in the family. This will further strain relationships the student should be able to rely on.

Moreover, students may be dealing with home issues beyond their control, such as financial problems, domestic violence, or substance abuse. These issues can create a sense of uncertainty and insecurity that can contribute to depression.

They might have to surrender their study and free time to work to help the family financially. This can also pressure them to drop out at times if the circumstances are harsh. 

Lastly, teens may feel that they do not have the support and encouragement they need from their families, which can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.  Thus, it is vital for high school students to have a supportive and nurturing family environment to cope with adolescence’s challenges. 

Social Relations

Another reason why high school students may be depressed is social and relationship problems. High school can be difficult for many students as they navigate the challenges of making friends, fitting in, and finding their place in the social hierarchy. 

Bullying and social exclusion can also be a major source of stress and depression for high school students. Cyberbullying is a point that further expands into why students shouldn’t have phones in school.

Some of the social and relationship issues that may contribute to depression in high school students include social exclusion, relationship issues, and bullying. Let’s explore more into this topic.

Social Exclusion

High school students may feel they need to fit in or be part of any social group. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

This may happen in class, extracurriculars, and even on sports teams. It can lead to hazing both in person and over text messages or social media.

Relationship Issues

Teens may experience relationship problems with friends or romantic partners, which can lead to feelings of sadness and insecurity. It is necessary for high school students to have a supportive network of friends and to feel connected to their peers. 

It brings up a vital question, should students date in high school? The answer may vary; check out the article for more information.


Bullying is a severe problem that can significantly impact a student’s mental health. Students who are bullied may feel isolated, helpless, and depressed.

Hazing may begin and expand quickly. Whether in person or through social media messages, bullying and cyberbullying can heavily affect a teen’s life.


Hormonal changes that occur during adolescence can also contribute to depression. Adolescence is a time of significant hormonal changes as the body goes through the process of puberty. 

These hormonal changes can cause mood swings and other emotional changes that can make it more difficult for students to cope with the challenges of high school.

For instance, the hormone cortisol is released in response to stress, and high levels of cortisol can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. The hormone serotonin, which is involved in mood regulation, may also be affected by hormonal changes during adolescence. 

Low levels of serotonin can contribute to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. It is important to note that while hormonal changes can contribute to depression in high school students, they are not the sole cause. 

Warning Signs That High School Students Are Depressed

There are usually indicating signs that high school students are depressed. Some might go unnoticed, such as the teen taking more time by themselves or being less active.

High school students, especially seniors, may experience sluggishness because of other factors, regardless of depression. They might want to rest more or want to be alone for longer periods of time.

Nevertheless, other factors can make it incredibly evident that a teen is struggling, such as joking or talking about self-harm and suicide. Low-self esteem, sadness, or extreme mood swings can also be good identifying factors.

A student that is having issues sleeping and eating or has frequent headaches could also be suffering in silence. Watch out for teens that have been getting into issues at school, dropping grades, and slacking off in class. 

Depression might also show through if teens no longer care about their appearance, consume substances like drugs and alcohol, or run away from home.

Furthermore, a student who no longer shows interest in their favorite things, such as hobbies, sports, or activities, may be struggling with depression alone.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, many factors can contribute to depression in high school students. These factors include academic pressure, social and relationship problems, bullying, family issues, and hormonal changes.

By addressing the underlying causes of depression and providing support and treatment, we can help high school students cope with adolescence’s challenges and thrive.

Take any threats of self-harm or suicide seriously. Prevention hotlines are set up, such as 1-800-SUICIDE, to aid anyone. Always reach out for help if you see a teen who could be suffering alone.

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