Depression checklist for youth 
                                                                                             Early warning signs
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Adolescence is a vulnerable 
time for depression.

Adolescence is a time of physical, emotional, intellectual and social change. It is a time to adapt and integrate into broader society, and establish one’s own identity.

Checklist for signs of depression 

A young person may be depressed if they show four or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks (or six months if associated with the death of a family member or close friend):
  • Not eating or eating too much. Has lost or gained lot of weight in a short time.
  • Has lost a lot of energy, complains of feeling tired all the time. Loss of interest in things they enjoyed.
  • Is tense, with sore muscles, unexplained aches and pains.
  • Changes in sleep pattern: Complains they can’t sleep at night or sleep too much.
  • Restless, ‘on edge’ (pacing, wringing hands) or has slowed down (spends hours staring or finds it hard to move).
  • Feels worthless or complains of feeling inappropriately guilty.
  • Becomes withdrawn and is tired, grumpy, irritable or upset.
  • Believes life is not worth living, there is no future and would be better off dead.

Significant changes in character and behaviour provide early warning signs, and the opportunity for early intervention. Alcohol and other drug misuse can change the body’s chemistry causing depressive symptoms.

  • Physically or verbally aggressive
  • Irritable – ie; snaps at people for no apparent reason
  • Expresses negativity about family
  • More than normal conflicts with parents and siblings
  • Changes eating and sleeping habits
  • Abandons favourite hobbies or sports
  • Misuses drugs and alcohol
  • Complains of being bored
  • Always moving around or alternatively, is lethargic
  • Sits passively watching TV for hours
  • Risk-taking – ie; dangerous driving


    • Changes in behaviour at school or work
    • Frequent absences from school
    • Poorer grades for assignments than previously
    • Loses concentration
    • Becomes disruptive in class
    • Sets self up for rejection by peers and/or teachers (takes on victim role)
    • Mentally confused and finds it hard to make decisions
    • Loses interest in activities which once were fun
    • Stops going out with friends; shows no interest in group outings
    • Starts associating with a different peer group
    • Cannot remember or doesn’t turn up to commitments
    • Projects personal difficulties on to others – eg; bullying
    • Increase or decrease in sexual activity

    • Speaks in monotones or gives one word replies
    • Cries easily, looks sad, feels alone or isolated
    • Changes in feeling, thought or perception
    • Expresses inappropriate guilt
    • Fears about having to be perfect
    • Preoccupied with self; withdrawn, shows inner distraction
    • Fearful of doing something bad
    • Feelings of not being good enough, worthlessness, failure
    • Expressions of hopelessness: nothing to look forward to
    • Incidents of self-injury
    • Has ideas of killing self

    Youth depression often shows a marked change in character, a decline in school work and a changed relationship to family and friends. The person may appear unhappy, tearful, down in the dumps or complain of sadness or emptiness or has lost interest or enjoyment in most activities and pastimes they previously enjoyed.

    Personal Crisis Contact Phone Numbers and Websites

    Youth Beyond Blue Depression Initiative
    Website only:

    Beyond Blue Depression Initiative
    Website only:

    Child Protection Crisis (24 hour)
    Phone: 1300 655 795

    Grief Line (12:00pm - 3:00am) 
    Phone: 9935 7400

    Kids Help Line 
    Phone: 1800 551 800

    Phone: 131 114
    Hours: 24 hours, seven days a week

    Missing Persons 
    Phone: 1800 000 634 (Free in Australia)

    Parentline (8:00am — midnight, 7 days a week) 
    Phone: 132 289

    Peninsula Community Mental Health 
    Phone: 9784 6999 (AH) 9784 7161

    Psychiatric Hotline (24 hour) 
    Phone: 1300 280 737

    Suicide Helpline (Victoria, 24 hour) 
    Phone: 1300 651 251

    Better Health Channel Fact Sheet - Youth suicide - the warning signs 

    Suicide threats should always be taken seriously. When dealing with a young person with suicidal thoughts, show support and avoid being judgmental. Predicting youth suicide is difficult, but sometimes a young person or teenager may show warning signs. Most young people who complete suicide had told someone of their plans (Links to Better Health Channel website). 
    Counselling for 12 — 24 year olds

    Frankston Youth Resource Centre
    9 Ross Smith Avenue West, Frankston, 3199

    Phone: 9768 1366


    9:00am – 11:00am (by phone)
    11:00am – 5:00pm (drop-in)

                                                                                                                                              Community Support Frankston Project funded by
                                                                                                                    Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)