10 Movies about Teen Depression to Watch for Parents

Nowadays, teens deal with many things affecting their growth and mental health. They repeatedly deal with drastic changes and challenges in their environment, resulting in stress that might worsen over time. Teens’ difficulties in coping with these changes might be a catalyst in developing teens’ depression. Unfortunately, depression in teens is frequently ignored as others see it as a part of teens’ adolescence period. These mood swings during adolescence of teens over time are more likely a sign of teens’ depression. It is important to accept the feelings of every teen as they are the most vulnerable to exhibiting depression, especially the current impact of the pandemic on their daily lives. A persistently gloomy mood, poor academic performance, declining relationships with family and friends, substance addiction, and other bad behaviors could be signs of a major depressive episode. In addition to these signs and symptoms, a fascination with death manifesting as suicidal ideas or worries about death and dying is another prevalent characteristic of teens’ depression. Depression in teens is difficult to diagnose since it does not always manifest itself in all elements of a teen’s life and might be episodic, appearing to come and go. However, teen depression is frequently severe. Waiting and hoping that depression will go away is a mistake because it rarely does.

Untreated depression can lead to other major difficulties such as substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and medical problems. It is critical to get your teens assessed by a doctor to acquire an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Treatment should be thought out firsthand if symptoms last for two weeks and create substantial distress or trouble functioning. Psychotherapy, most commonly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is usually the best option. CBT teaches teens to utilize new, more successful ways to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Parents are frequently involved in psychotherapy. Medication is also one of the best options for teens whose depression does not respond to psychotherapy. On occasion, teens with severe depression or in danger of suicide may need to be admitted to a psychiatric unit. Additionally, because of the behavioral issues that frequently exist with teen depression, many parents seek assistance from specialists who provide various therapeutic options such as teen depression treatment and teen anxiety treatment.

If your teens understand the purpose of treatment, know what to expect, and have a say in it, they are more likely to comply. Of course, enabling your teen to plan their treatment isn’t always feasible, but even allowing them to make a tiny decision like scheduling their next appointment can help them feel more in charge. So, learn everything about depression to understand what your teen is going through. Encourage your teen to communicate to you about anything bothering them by being there to listen. Luckily there are ways to easily understand what teen depression is, like reading books and watching some movies focusing on what teens are going through.

Need and Importance of Movies About Teen Depression

Understanding mental health has never been more vital in today’s fast-paced environment. As the modern world demands more of people’s time and attention, they become increasingly detached from their own needs and happiness, resulting in a population plagued by anxiety, despair, and other mental health disorders. Many people, especially teens who battle with mental health difficulties, feel alone and isolated in their struggle. With that being said, when the topic of mental health is open, and people feel comfortable sharing their stories, it will end the stigma that has been stopping teens from expressing what they feel. Fortunately, the emergence of movies about teen depression provides teens with a safe space that comes with effective conveying of information and stories that inspires.

On top of that, these movies are entertainment pieces that can be a great way to share mental health awareness in an informative yet entertaining approach. A good movie can transport the audience back in time, place them in the middle of an exciting adventure, or transport them to another realm. And for those hours, real-life worries might fade away. Movies about teen depression can give teens exhibiting depression an outlet for their ideas and feelings, at least for a while. These movies provide teens with alternative points of view and lives that might help them enhance their coping mechanisms. However, parents must always be present in guiding their teens and ensure that they are only getting useful information and positive ideas in understanding depression. It is important to differentiate movies providing mental health awareness from movies glorifying mental health issues. Here are ten of the best movies (some of which are based on books) that address mental health issues and shed some valuable lessons that will help teens cope and understand how to overcome depression.

13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is one of those wonderful shows that you remember for the rest of your life. The 13-episode series is based on the same-named novel by Jay Asher. This Netflix series should be a must-watch with caution because you will undoubtedly be disturbed in several situations once you begin viewing it. You may have heard of this show because of its gory, overwhelming nature, which has spurred a discussion about adolescent television and mental illness. While some criticize the show for promoting suicide, others applaud it for properly depicting the brutal realities of suicide, sexual assault, and bullying. Even though there is a warning at the beginning of each episode, it is critical to watch with your teen and discuss the problems raised in 13 Reasons Why. The story confronts the hideous aspect of suicide and the long-term ramifications of trauma, which may be difficult to see, but this show can aid in processing critical information about suicide. This series encourages people to consider how their actions will influence others and how they can never truly understand what others might be feeling and going through. Whether the show is disliked or adored, it has unquestionably sparked vital discussions and elevated suicide awareness.

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places, a Netflix adaptation based on Jennifer Niven’s young adult novel, is yet another great book to screen. The story deals with mental health in an interesting, instructive, and accessible way, focusing awareness on the mental health difficulties that teenagers experience. The film deals with mourning over the death of a loved one in a fatal accident and anger issues, and overcoming the past to connect with others. It portrays mental illness with sensitivity and empathy, recognizing that everyone deals with mental illness in their unique way.

Despite the ending speech sounding heavy, the film’s purpose of portraying an honest story of how hard it is to live with mental health issues shows through from start to finish. Even though the novel ends in sorrow, it portrays a picture of hope, demonstrating that even if the worst has occurred, there will always be hope. There’s still time to start again with the help of the people you care about and trust. It’s truly a heartbreaking film, but one that presents mental health issues correctly.

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska is an adapted series based on John Green’s best-selling novel from 2005, but it expands on the book and contains new themes and messages that are relevant to today’s times, particularly those concerning mental health. The story starts as a mystery, but it grows in-depth as it goes on, especially as the final episodes take on a more alarming tone and Alaska’s inner problems become obvious. “Looking for Alaska” portrays the true impact of a young death in an honest and heartfelt manner. While the absence of answers may appear frustrating as a plot device, it is significantly more realistic and, in the end, sends a far stronger message to young people. The portraying technique of this movie is another example of not completely understanding what another person is going through, especially when they don’t directly ask for aid. Though “Looking for Alaska” holds a major tragedy, it ultimately teaches us that forgiveness, both of others and ourselves, is the key to bearing the tumultuous times life will toss at us.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a 2012 film, has recently regained popularity with its recent availability on Netflix. The film follows Charlie, the main character, as he struggles with depression and sexual assault as a teenager. Moreover, it shows a high school freshman’s regular trials and hardships. This film depicts the harsh realities of dealing with mental illness and dealing with those who do not understand or care to understand. Charlie conveyed the feelings and concepts that many people find difficult to comprehend. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” depicts PTSD symptoms in teenagers who have been sexually assaulted. It also positively portrays psychiatry and a psychiatric hospital, uncommon in Hollywood. Films that provide this level of understanding of mental illnesses assist in dispelling the stigmas that still exist today. Overall, the film was well-made and heartfelt.

To the Bone

To the Bone presented an unprecedented look at how mental illness expresses itself in eating disorders. To the Bone is a semi-autobiographical Netflix film about a 20-year-old girl named Ellen and her struggle through recovery from Anorexia Nervosa, an eating disorder. To the Bone employs numerous characters to demonstrate various eating problem behaviors, and it shows varied actions to represent how someone with an eating disorder might act. Anyone who has a mental illness, whether it is an eating disorder or not, may relate to the feeling of understanding how harmful it affects one’s behavior, yet not knowing how to stop it or change it, or even not wanting to. This film has also been criticized for distorting delicate subject matter, but on the bright side, it has aided in the start of critical talks and has clearly stated that the recovery journey is not that easy. This film successfully increases awareness of eating disorders while also demonstrating treatment resistance.


Euphoria is a new HBO series that follows a group of teenagers as they experience the complexity of high school while also dealing with the dark side of teen sex, drugs, and, most importantly, mental health issues. The severe realities of mental illness in a high school context are depicted explicitly. The characters are raw and real, dealing with various issues such as love interest, sadness over the loss of a loved one, and drug addiction. In this series, Rue, the main character, struggles with addiction, which began when she was looking for a means to cope with her slew of mental diseases, and this, of course, adds to her problems at a time when she is already in excruciating pain, if for no other reason than being born into this world. Euphoria portraying technique in dealing with recurrent mental illness or substance use disorders brings a lot of dark and miserable times, thoughts, and experiences, and many painful facts that can be difficult to understand by many audiences. However, ‘Euphoria’s’ unique perspective reflects the real-life suffering of someone exhibiting mental health disorder. Euphoria used the entertainment platform effectively to promote awareness about mental illness and substance use disorder by providing a difficult to watch yet honest depiction that is missing from other TV shows and films.

The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins is a psychological drama that looks at the complexities and the positive aspects of sibling relationships and a realistic portrayal of people dealing with depression. This film is well-crafted and wonderfully photographed. The story easily swings from lighthearted, humorous jesting to deep observations on loss and difficult life transitions. The story portrays two depressed siblings who grow to appreciate each other and themselves. The two siblings’ characters communicate their depression genuinely and hilariously. This film demonstrates how accepting trauma is one of the most effective methods to heal from the past. People suffering from depression’s real-life actions are reflected in the film as they continue to mend throughout their lives. This film uniquely displays depression as a moving drama with a comic twist that explores how a lack of social connection and toxic relationships may negatively affect mental health. Overall, “The Skeleton Twins” movie is reassuring and uplifting, reminding us that there is always someone who can assist us in our darkest moments.

The Virgin Suicides

“The Virgin Suicides” is a surreal and atmospheric film about the Lisbon family, consisting of five beautiful blonde girls and their strict Christian parents. It follows a group of young girls who get more depressed after being forced to stay at home in solitude. The Lisbon girls reside in a Michigan suburb and end up killing themselves. All five sisters committed suicide due to removing the girls from school, isolating them from friends, and keeping them under the Lisbon roof. This movie showed how parent-children relationships are often related to developing mental health disorders among teenagers. Overall, love and repression, fantasy and dread, sex and death, memory and longing are all explored in this movie. This movie is a mystery presenting a heartbreaking story of American teens’ unclear, life-changing secrets.

Sylvia (2003)

The film primarily focuses on Sylvia Plath’s difficult relationship with her eight-year spouse, renowned poet Ted Hughes. Plath speaks openly about her suicidal thoughts and attempts in several parts of the film. Suicidal ideation was a strand of Plath’s gloomy thought that never completely went away. She was only trying to avoid it. In this way, she goes through the subject, often instinctively, during emotional moments applicable in real life. The movie “Sylvia” is passionate and stunningly beautiful, but it’s also psychologically realistic. It’s one of the most accurate representations of the difficult-to-explain experience of severe depression.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine is a comedic adventure film about the Hoover family dealing with various psychiatric issues. Although a comedy, one may claim that the darkly funny picture confronts various mental health diseases through the Hoover family’s disaster-filled road trip. This film plays on the audience’s emotions and forces them to consider the dysfunction they may be experiencing right now. Little Miss Sunshine is a helpful and fun reminder that life’s troubles may frequently present in our relationships and personalities, even if it isn’t always the case. Its comedic undertones convey a more serious message about mental illness and distress. This significant motion picture’s deeply psychological content has given it a deeper meaning than just another comedy. Lastly, “Little Miss Sunshine” is notable for exposing the psychological disorders that seem so common in today’s society and proposing the greatest remedy for all families. Staying together and caring for one another will always keep you out of negativity.

These movies have a different approach to addressing mental health issues, particularly helpful for teens exhibiting depression. These movies about teen depression and other mental health issues play a huge role in handing useful information and lessons that will help teens cope and recover effectively.


There are many ways to share information in a formal yet creative way that is more likely to attract many audiences in today’s modern age. One of these ways is through the help of entertainment, especially movies. These movies offer many advantages that are very useful for teens. Not only are movies one click away, but the actors portraying the stories also have a great capacity to inspire the viewers. Moreover, the future of mental health in the media, especially in movies geared toward teenagers, is improving, and the topic of mental health awareness will only continue to flourish. While these movies deal with mental health concerns, the media still needs to highlight the struggles and obstacles that patients encounter and assist them in recognizing that help is available.

On the other hand, Key Transition, one of the leading teen treatment programs in Los Angeles, pledges to create programs that would assist teens and young adults identify their skills and acknowledge their potential to live happy, fulfilling lives. Key Transition’s experts believe that every teen can change for the better if given the proper assistance and connection. For teens suffering from a range of mental health issues, Key Transitions offers a combination of counseling and education. They teach parents how to communicate with and manage their teenagers, resulting in stronger family bonds and better lifestyles.

With that said, it is important to provide a nurturing atmosphere for teenagers during their adolescence. Do not wait for indications of mental illness to appear before providing what you should. Spend time with them, engage in fun activities, and form bonds. No matter how close you believe you are, remember to ask them how they feel. Raising mental health awareness may help you understand your symptoms, seek professional assistance, and, perhaps most significantly, reduce the stigma that keeps many teenagers suffering in silence.


Related Articles

Back to top button