Seasonal Depression in Teens and Children

Seasonal depression, a type of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is depression that occurs during the same season every year. It is most common in the fall and winter months when the days are shorter and there is less sunlight. Like adults, children and teens can experience depression, including SAD.


Symptoms of SAD in children and teens are the same as depression without a seasonal onset. These symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you suspect that your child or teen may be experiencing SAD, it’s important to talk to their pediatrician. If you feel your child is not safe, please use the SafeUT App, call 988, and/or go to the nearest emergency room.


Treatment options for SAD may include light therapy, psychotherapy, and/or medication. Light therapy for SAD includes bright morning light therapy or dawn simulation.

In addition to seeking professional help, there are a few things you can do at home to help your child or teen cope with SAD. Here are some tips:

  • Encourage your child or teen to spend time outdoors during the day, even if it is cloudy
  • Encourage your child to get aerobic exercise regularly
  • Make sure your child or teen has a healthy sleep routine
  • Make sure your child or teen is eating a healthy diet
  • Encourage spending time with friends and family

Although it can be difficult, SAD is a treatable condition. With the right treatment plan and support, your child or teen can feel better, and future episodes can even be prevented.

If you have any concerns about your child or teen’s mental health, talk to their pediatrician.



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