How to manage missing school due to depression?


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Page last updated: 18/10/2022

How to manage missing school due to depression?

This blog answers: How to manage missing school due to depression? What is depression? What are the symptoms of depression? What are the treatment options for depression?

How to manage missing school due to depression?

Some ways of managing missing school due to depression are:

Take a break

Both students and parents consider going to school as essential for the growth and development of the student. However, when students are battling a serious condition like depression they can always consider taking a break for a few days or an entire semester to restore their performance and mental well-being.

This decision must be well supported by the parents as well as the teachers to avoid any further conflict contributing to further stress and low mood.

Another way of taking a break is to take breaks from the deadlines and requirements imposed by the teacher and the academic staff. This definitely would require permission from the authoritative figure in school and would require a diagnosis of the student’s health.

Identify social support systems

When students are feeling low and are missing school because of their depression they can take a step back and consciously reflect on those individuals who have always been there for them and who treat them with comfort and respect.

spending more time with individuals who provide support and care can help students battling depression feel a sense of belonging.

Avoid avoidance

Taking a break from school and other academic requirements to reduce the amount of tension is considerable however taking a break due to a sense of fear or exhaustion from necessary commitments might lead to increased levels of stress.

Students must identify and prioritize tasks and requirements that can be kept for later and that need to be met immediately.

How to manage missing school due to depression?

Do things you enjoy

Another way to manage missing school due to depression is to involve in activities that help to lighten an individual’s mood and make them feel productive.

Students can also try and replace their unpleasant habits with those that make them feel more comfortable and bring out favorable outcomes both in the long run and in the short run.

This can involve physical exercises, outdoor time, reconnecting with one’s hobbies, and enhancing their skills for the same.

Seek professional help

In severe cases when depression is impacting students’ ability to attend school, they can consider seeking professional help from the therapist.

A combination of psychotherapy and medication indicated and suggested by the therapist can help students gradually recover from depression holistically.

Psychotherapy refers to speaking about one’s emotions with a professional who can help them regulate these emotions effectively.

On the other hand, several antidepressants can also help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and other mental health disorders to an extent that helps individuals carry out their daily functioning.

What are the various factors that cause students to miss school due to depression?

Some depression-related factors that make it difficult for students to attend school:


Students with depression often get irritated or agitated easily making it impossible for them to keep calm in various situations and challenges faced at school. This prolonged irritability might be the reason why students and teachers isolate the students intentionally or unintentionally.

Fluctuating self-esteem

Students with depression often experience fluctuations in their self-esteem. Many students are also very hard on themselves due to self-doubt and a lack of success. Constantly criticizing oneself can lead to overwhelming feelings and school refusal.

Depleting motivation

Depression can reduce an individual’s motivation leading to procrastination or mental exhaustion. Gradual lack of motivation makes an individual less efficient and productive.

Problems with sleep

Sleep disorder is common comorbidity seen in depression making it challenging for students to concentrate in class, think practically and spontaneously.

Abuse of substances

Many students who experience depression get into the use of alcohol and substance abuse. Prolonged use of these substances might lead to addiction and result in severe consequences such as withdrawal and isolation.


Social problems

Students with depression are identified as those experiencing troubles with socializing. They start avoiding situations that involve interactions with other individuals due to nervousness and decreased confidence.

What are the various impact of depression on school performance?

Depression can have various impacts on students productivity and performance such as:

  • Experiencing anxiousness regularly
  • Decreased enjoyment, motivation, and interests in various areas of school and pure relationship.
  • Feelings of hopelessness with a decreased sense of success.
  • Difficulty in focusing and concentrating on various tasks and school work.
  • Feeling exhausted most of the time makes it difficult to wake up early for school.
  • Changes in appetite result in lower levels of energy gradually.
  • Unexplained body aches

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common serious mental health conditions that negatively impact how an individual feels and thinks.

Depression is associated with feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in daily activities, and drastic changes in the energy level and the daily routines of an individual.

Depression in itself can lead to other physical and emotional problems which can be detrimental to a person’s functioning.

The symptoms of depression can vary from individual to individual from mild to severe depending on various factors.

Studies indicate that depression affects about 15% of adults every year and one in every six people experience depression at some time in their life.

Although depression can occur at any age it is more common among teenagers and early adults. Research indicates that women are more vulnerable to depression than men.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The characteristic symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed in the past
  • Changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns with very little sleep or long hours of sleep
  • Decrease in the level of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling guilty
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • In severe cases thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of depression must last up to two weeks and cause significant impairment in an individual’s daily functioning to meet the diagnosis of depression.

What are the treatment options for depression?

Depression though widespread is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. About 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment.

Some possible treatment options for depression are


Antidepressants are very commonly prescribed by doctors to individuals with depression. These medications are not sedatives or tranquilizers. They generally do not have any stimulating effects on people who do not experience depression.

Antidepressants usually show their effects within a few weeks. However, in cases where patients do not see any improvement after several weeks, they can alter their doses based on the suggestions provided by their health care practitioners.


Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. It is used as a single mode of treatment for mild depression or for moderate to severe depression along with antidepressants.

Psychotherapy might involve the individual alone or other related individuals for instance the family of the concerned person.

Depending on the severity of depression psychotherapy might take a few weeks or much longer for significant improvement

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the therapist actively focuses on problem-solving. This is done by helping individuals replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment model that is commonly used for patients with severe and major depression who usually do not respond to other lines of treatment.

It involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.

Patients receive electroconvulsive therapy two or three times a week for a total of 6 to 12 sessions.

Self-help and coping strategies

Apart from therapy and medicine individuals can also carry out some self-help coping strategies such as carrying out regular exercises, getting sufficient sleep, indulging in pleasurable activities, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol to reduce their symptoms of depression


School life is an integral part of a student’s life. Battling depression can be very challenging and overwhelming for many students across the globe with its increasing numbers. 

Students must seek help for their symptoms of depression and also discuss their condition with their significant social groups. 

Frequently asked questions: How to manage missing school because of depression?


What is the leading cause of depression?

Major depression can be caused due to various psychological, biological, and environmental factors. The way an individual’s brain controls their mood and behavior is very complex and evolving.

What percentage of students have symptoms of depression?

Research indicates that about 20% of teenagers experience depression. While about 10 to 15% suffer from symptoms and 30% of teenagers are depressed and are being cared for.

Is it OK to skip classes?

Skipping classes can be considered as far as the reason for it is valid. However, a continuous habit of skipping classes can become chronic leading to negative impacts on an individual’s academic performance and productivity.

Can I miss school because of anxiety?

Many individuals miss school due to school refusal that is caused by conditions such as depression and anxiety family crisis and other distressing events.