Depression after high school graduation (5 tips to cope)

In this post, we will be addressing the topic, “ Depression after high school graduation”, discuss the term, “ High school Depression”, study the causes, symptoms and treatment of high school depression and then answer some of the queries and questions in regards to the topic.

Depression after high school graduation

Depression after high school is a real and prevalent phenomenon in many graduates. It is primarily caused by 

  • Major transition following graduation 
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • College Rejections
  • Parting from friends and social circle
  • Uncertainty and apprehension

High school graduation Depression 

High school graduation depression is a common experience and something that is prevalent in high school where the school senior or rising sophomore faced serious and severe depression after their graduation and before entering college. 

For most of the students, it resides in them for some days while it also creeps them out in a few days and settles during college. Post-graduation depression is also the continuation of certain mental health-related issues in college years for the student. 

According to a study done in 2015, it was found that mental problems are not only prevalent and common in college students, rather they persist and sustain for some years. And 60% of them report their mental health problems and issues after two years. 

Although highschool depression isn’t an official diagnosis or a mental illness such as clinical depression, however, it is a common and prevailing phenomenon in school students. 

The vulnerability to high school depression is determined by factors like course, experience and one’s social connection. In most of the cases, the expectations and promises one has about their bright future can be misleading and thus, make them vulnerable to it.

Other than that, getting rejected from colleges for application and interviews also takes a toll on one’s outlook, self-esteem as well as their vision about the future.

Signs and Symptoms of High School depression

Despite the typical experience of getting rejected from colleges for further studies and not calling in for an interview that results in highschool depression, however, there are varied and different ways of how people manifest and exhibit the depressive symptoms they are undergoing. 

Although there are certain emotional as well as behavioural changes that are strong enough to indicate the difficulties and problems the school children are going through, there are more that are inherent and hide away from the public and other’s eyes.

Some of the symptoms of high school depression are:

Lifestyle changes

When the child is going through serious highschool depression, it is very evident and noticeable that there will be a serious change in their lifestyles. They feel disconnected as well as unsatisfied with their current lifestyle and then make certain modifications in it to effectively cope up with the depressive symptoms.

Not enjoying things they enjoy doing

A serious indicator of clinical depression is Anhedonia, where the child doesn’t experience any pleasure and interest in doing things that they find pleasurable and interesting earlier. Similarly, highschool depression results in the child to not find any joy and enjoy the things they enjoy earlier. It is a serious sign of depression and a symptom that they are experiencing blue.

Drug use and addiction

Another major symptom of school children undergoing and experiencing serious highschool depression is the use of drugs and substances. They usually turn out to things like that to fill the void and loneliness. This can be use of cigarettes, alcohol and trying other drug-related activities, especially with their own peers and age groups. 


Sometimes the feeling of loneliness and lack of peer support can take a great toll on an individual’s mental health. When in university they are surrounded by their friends, are secured and share a structured routine along with their friends.

However, when this kind of surrounding is disrupted and taken away from the school students, they feel low and isolated. 

Uncertainty about life

Because of the uncertainty and apprehension, they feel stress, anxious and are depressed. Graduating from high school officially propels them into the new world with challenges and possibilities and unknowns. And this experience can be challenging and tough to combat with for the students. 

Sleep problem

A very common sign of highschool depression is the disturbance and disruption in the sleep cycle of the individual. They sometimes experience severe and serious insomnia. Such behaviour and signs exhibited by the graduates should be taken care of.

Low self-esteem

Constantly doubting and keeping oneself low and underestimating can be a sign of depression that the person is battling with. It can be detrimental for their growth both professionally and personally.

Avoidance and Irritability

Since individuals battling with highschool depression are overloaded and burdened with excess stress and pressure, they tend to avoid social interactions, gathering and seek seclusion. This is an alarming symptom that the individual battles with.

They are also very vulnerable to irritation and get agitated easily.

These are the major symptoms shown by individuals going through depression and anxiety that they battle with right after their graduation. It can be triggered right after graduation or might take time to exhibit. 

Although graduation is often associated with euphoric feeling and the excitement to embark the new journey, once it remits, depressive symptoms do take a toll on the graduate’s well being and mental health. There are other symptoms that are indicative enough of depression an individual is experiencing such as the feeling of despondency, despair, dejection, interference and disturbance in social relations and struggles in doing and completing the daily tasks.

And during this transition, many often undergo the depressive symptoms.

Causes of highschool depression

There is a wide range of factors that could lead to highschool depression and it is always an integral part of the individual’s routine to have and keep a constant check on their mental health especially during the major life transitions. 

Some of the factors that result in high school depression are:

Major life transition

Graduating from high school can be a serious challenge for the graduates since they are officially entering into the world out there with stiff competition and challenge. The apprehension about it itself results in serious depression and emotional challenge to the graduates.

The transition involves their daily living arrangement, meeting new people, changing their mindset about life and etc. 

Lack of structure

When stepping out of school, everything is personal responsibility and this can be an unusual feeling and something that the school kids are not adapted and exposed to. The challenge as well as the outside world can be stressing for them. 

College rejection and loss of social circle

Graduating from highschool imposes a challenge for the graduates to apply for colleges as well as hunt for jobs. Since life is not always a bed of roses, the rejection, loss and unmet requirements can have a severe impact on their mental health resulting in depressed mood and low self esteem. 

Other than that, losing their friends and their social circle gradually shrinking can be distressing too.

Social media influence

As a teen and graduate, social media can leave a serious impact on their self-esteem as well as confidence. Seeing another friend’s post and update can make oneself low and self-conscious. And this feeling of validation and vulnerability over a long time can result in serious depressive behaviour.

Unrealistic Expectation

Having unrealistic expectations about their future results in serious depressive symptoms. The expectations from their family, other social circles as well as from their own results in serious symptoms of depression. Apart from that, failing to live up to the expectation and accomplishing it makes them feel low and worthless.

These are the major causes of highschool depression and failing to combat and tackle these events result in severe symptoms of depression in the individual.

Dealing with highschool depression

Since highschool depression is common and prevalent in most of the graduates, there are strategies one can follow to combat the symptoms. It is thus very important for the graduates to seek help as well as to keep a constant check on their mental health.

And despite the severity of highschool depression that a graduate undergoes, there is always help that they can follow to simply get rid of it. 

Some of the strategies are:

Mindfulness practice

It is best to be identifying the emotions that cause distress and disturbance in the individual and then effectively deal with it. Instead of being controlled by the negative emotions and thoughts, one can address the emotion and allow themselves to experience it.

Staying connected

Keeping their social circle alive and connected even after graduation makes them feel alive and ensures constant social support.

Maintaining and identify new interest

The end of highschool doesn’t put an end to their interest and passion. One can always follow their passion and learn new skills so that they are always occupied and engaged.

Forging direction and structuring

Lack of organisation and structure in life results in problems and messes up everything. Thus creating a plan of actions ahead of the month and making realistic goals can help the graduate combat with highschool anxiety as well as depression.

Creating and making a new social connection

Parting from friends doesn’t restrict you from creating a new social circle. Entering into the outside world, bumping in new people and college students enlarge the social circle. Thus, to ensure that one has constant social support and peer help, they can expand their social circle. 

Seeking help and treatment

It’s the best and ideal option to seek professional help when the symptoms go beyond the head and are unable to manage.

Communicating with the guidance counsellor for this case also ensures that their symptoms and problems are effectively dealt with. 

Getting and diagnosis and treatment plan

Educating oneself about the severity of symptoms and consequently seeking help from a mental health professional when the severity of symptoms increases and aggravate can help combat the depressive symptoms and prevent relapse.

These are strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with high school depression.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.

FAQ: Depression after high school graduation

What happens after graduating high school?

Graduates go for higher education and further studies after graduating from high school.

Does depression lower your IQ?

No, there is no effect of depression on the IQ score of the individual.

Does depression correlate with intelligence?

Yes, it is believed that higher intelligence and creative people are more vulnerable to depression than the normal population.

What does graduation feel like?

It is a blend of both euphoric feelings and the stress and anxiety about the next journey. Although for most of the graduates, it is all about excitement and pleasure, it can also be a depressive feeling otherwise.


In this post, we addressed the topic, “ Depression after high school graduation”, discussed the term, “ High school Depression”, studied the causes, symptoms and treatment of high school depression and then answered some of the queries and questions in regards to the topic.

Links for details and information


Kormoczi, R. (2019). Post Graduate Depression. Times International.

Laderer, A. (2019). Post-Graduation Depression is All Too Real. the talkspace voice.

Peterson, T. J. (2020). High School Graduation: How to Deal with Depression and Anxiety. choosing therapy.