Depression to me is a prison people create inside their heads. It is entirely psychological. A teenager who is in depression is a person who has a very negative outlook on the world. This causes that teenager to see the worst in everything. The world continues to turn normally, but to them it is like hell.
It happens to teenagers because they are sometimes unprepared for the world. They do not know how to react and sometimes take some wrong turns. This is entirely normal. Going down these wrong paths, they become frustrated, and wonder why everyone else is coping. They compare a lot. Why is Harry so happy? Why does Jill have such loving parents?
The teenager is now constantly comparing, and constantly seeing the worst case situations in everything. You can see anything in a good way or bad way. For example if your ‘friend’ just snobbed you, you can think ‘well he/she is not much of a friend! I guess I will just be polite in future until they work themselves out’. Or perhaps ‘I’m obviously not good enough to be his/her friend, I might just snob him and all his/her friends back!’.
Notice in the latter there is a lot more anger. Feelings of rejection and being misread can often lead to a lot of anger. This anger then makes things a lot worse because it is released upon the teenagers main lifelines such as good friends or family. The good friends and family, annoyed at the teenagers constant anger and frustration, then try and avoid him/her, fueling the feeling of rejection inside the teenager. It is a nasty cycle.
Unfortunately, in the teenagers current mindset, it is an extremely hard task to get out of this dark spiral. The prison they have created is quite well built, and hard to escape from.
To break free the teenager must change his/her mindset. They need to realize that they are the ones that are causing their pain. They need to take responsibility for the pain they are suffering.
It sounds harsh, but it is true. By seeing that it is their fault they will soon realize that this is a good thing. It brings the focus away from the outside, external factors like school peers and family, and onto themselves. They can start rebuilding. They gain strength knowing that they can change their way of thinking; to stop looking at the bad side, to stop comparing to others, to embrace the fact that they lead themselves to this depressed state because that was the only way they could go in their previous states of knowledge.
Simply telling a depressed teenager that they should be happy and love life will not help anyone. What is important is getting the message across that they are responsible for their life and before change can occur they must change their ways of thinking. Once this is understood they can turn around and start swimming for shore.