Studies with depressed teens show they had more stressful
life events / losses in the year prior to their being depressed. Some mood
disorders may, in fact, be precipitated by a loss.
Grieving a loss is a lot of work and takes time. It is important, though, for teens to work
through the grief process so healing can occur. It is also important that they get support to
do this. For instance, many teens have
benefitted from being involved in grief support groups where they are with
other teens who have experienced similar losses. Other ways to support teens who are grieving
can be found at the Cincinnati Children's Bereavement Support page.
It is normal for teens to experience temporary difficulty in
functioning at school or in social situations after a loss. However, when symptoms of depression persist for longer than two months, the child should be evaluated by a
professional. It is important to respect a teen’s right to
grieve or mourn the loss of a loved one, which is explained in the Mourners Bill of Rights for children and teens. There
is no time limit for grieving. It may
take years for some teens to resolve, accept or forgive the loss. In fact,
children may often revisit sadness over their losses through the years. Unresolved grief, however, causes one to be
less able to cope.
There are four major theories about the stages of grieving. No one theory, however, adequately explains
everyone’s experience with grief since the grief process is fairly complex and
personal. In reality, people do not simply progress from
one stage to the next. Instead, they may
move back and forth, experience more than one stage at a time, or move through
the stages in a different order. Nevertheless,
many people who are grieving a loss will identify with some of the stages
described in any one of the theories. For instance, one family found that many of
the stages of the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief applied to their own experience
of losing their 19-year-old son and brother in a motorcycle accident. Although this theory was created to explain
the stages of grief for a dying person, some of its stages can be applied to
those who are grieving a loss of a loved one as well, which is illustrated in
the below examples.