I am depressed and I don’t want to go to school


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Page last updated: 24/10/2022

This article will discuss why teens and young people, when depressed, might not want to go to school. For that, the article will explain how depression can affect this age group, and what are the main reasons they get depressed. 

Not only that, but the article will also show ways students can cope with this, and how parents can support them, create a better environment for their education and mental health, and motivate them to go to school.

Why do depressed students have a hard time going to school?

When a student is depressed, it might be that they don’t want to go to school. Depression affects all aspects of their life, and school is no different. If this is the situation, it might be important to understand why this is going on.

Students might have trouble going to school due to the lack of energy depression leaves them with. For students dealing with major depression sometimes even getting out of bed can seem impossible, and school might seem like too much of an effort.

It can also be that school work might be overwhelming for them at this moment. They might be having trouble focusing in classes, and this can take them down to a spiral, in which they are always feeling like they are left behind.

Another thing that can make students avoid going to school is if they are going through bullying or abusive situations in school. This can turn the school environment into a traumatic place, that will pile on in a negative way to their depression.

In dealing with this matter, parents and teachers can feel lost, and not know what to do. It is usually recommended that parents don’t force them to go to school, but rather understand and support what they are going through. 

Keep in mind that you should encourage them to keep as many activities as they can since when they are in bed all day, it can rapidly make their condition worse. As for going to school, although it might not improve their condition, keeping a sense of routine can be something that prevents them from getting worse.

If you are wondering how you can figure out if your kid doesn’t want to go to school because he is depressed or if it is something else, let’s take a look at how depression manifests itself in teens and young adults in school years.

I am depressed and I don’t want to go to school

How can depression impact teens?

Depression usually causes people to go through intense sadness and loss of purpose. But in teens, it can also have some other symptoms. They can express more irritability or anger instead of sadness. And this can be specially related to teachers and other students they don’t get along with.

Depression always has a high impact on a person’s self-esteem, and since in school they are always graded in activities, thinking they are not capable of doing things can make them less motivated to do it.

Teens, like any other person going through depression, can have a change in their sleeping patterns. And this has a direct impact on their ability to focus and have energy in school. 

With all this going on in their life, teens can turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to feel better, and escape how they are feeling, this can lead to alcohol and drug abuse. 

Depression can also cause people to isolate, and with teens, it is no different, they might not want to be around people, especially colleagues. So let’s discuss in what ways you can cope with this.

How can I cope with my school work when I am depressed?

It is extremely hard to go through depression during your school years. And although you might already be receiving professional help, there are some shifts you can do to your day-to-day life that might help you.

Understand what is overwhelming you 

Although it might seem like being perfect and being able to handle everything is a must, try to take a look at all you have been doing, and discover if you can cut back on things. Let go of what is not necessary for the plan you are tracing for yourself.

Count on who supports you

When people are depressed, they tend to isolate themselves. But they do remember that keeping your loved ones close can be a way to share how you feel, and have people supporting you through this.

Don’t avoid things 

Depression cuts back a lot of your energy and you can start to avoid doing things. But try to remember that the more you avoid it, the harder it will be to do it. Not doing right away can also make you anxious and worried, which won’t be good for you.

Find things that relax you

Having, in your life, things you get positive feelings from is important. It can be listening to music, having a laugh with friends, or going on a hike. This can make those happy hormones go through your body and improve your sense of well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What can I do if I am depressed and I don’t want to go to school?

How can parents act in this situation?

As said before, it is not recommended for parents to force their kids to go to school. This can only make them feel worse, and make it hard for you to communicate with them. And although parents should encourage their kids to go to school, there are other ways they can help.

Validate how they feel 

When your kid is depressed, it might be hard to understand why they are going through it. It can leave you feeling helpless, and in that, you might start to question and offer quick fixes to the situation. But what is important at the moment, more than anything, is to listen to them in a non-judgemental way.

Stick to the plan 

As you are supporting your kid, it might be important that they are in therapy to develop skills to cope with it. Through that, you all can create a plan on how to deal with this moment. It might be by having a teacher’s assistant help them from home, or chatting back in their school work. 

Remember to always stick to what was decided, and to make teachers aware of this. That will allow them to keep an eye on them in school, and offer the support they might need.

Maintain a safe space 

Create a safe space at home, but also talk to the school team to establish a safe space for them there. This is important because, on the days they go to school, if they ever feel like they are close to a crisis, they can go to this place to feel safe and supported, but also to not expose themselves in front of their colleagues.

Be patient 

When dealing with someone with depression, having patience is extremely important. The situation doesn’t change from one day to the next. Understand that there will be ups and downs, but if you decide to go through this together, it can be a lot easier.

Reward their effort

Acknowledge when your kid does something positive. It can be going to school more often than they used to, or that you noticed their mood is better. But let them know you noticed how you feel about this, and reward them. This is also a way to break their negative thoughts about themselves. 

Is school the main cause of depression?

School is not necessarily the main cause of depression, but it is possible to say that it has a great effect on a child’s emotional well-being. And when a kid is depressed, how they behave in school changes.

With that said, it is important to know the role that school has in perceiving and caring for the kid’s mental health. Through their interactions there, it will be possible to notice how they are feeling, and also it will be the first place in which one can notice the changes in their behavior.

Is mental health a good excuse to miss school?

One needs to be very careful when asking this. Mental health issues are serious conditions. People suffer immensely from it and are impaired to a point they are not able to go to school or do basic activities, like getting out of bed.

If people start to use this as an excuse, it can harm those people that need to be excused from classes or cut back on their homework. But if you are suspecting there might be something going on with you, it would be a good idea to look for a professional that can understand how you feel and discuss how this can impact your schoolwork.

How can I hide when I cry at school?

One way to hide that you have been crying in school is by saying something that hit your eye. You can also say that you have some bad allergies, which cause water to run down your eyes sometimes.

You can say you have something in your eyes, and this will allow you to go to the bathroom to refresh. You might also want to say you laughed so hard you started crying, or the tears are there because you just yawned. After all,  you didn’t have enough sleep.

What is school refusal disorder?

This is a sort of disorder that is part of anxiety disorder. It causes kids to refuse to go to school. This can happen because they are looking for comfort and security from their parents.

Or because they are going through stressful situations at school. It can be that they are being bullied, or feel overwhelmed about their school activities, or the pressure to succeed that can come from it.

To deal with this, it is necessary to unit parents, kids, and teachers. This joint effort will help understand what is happening that the kid feels so uncomfortable at school, and what can be done. Teachers can be more flexible with the student’s homework, and extend deadlines. And parents can try to take off the pressure of succeeding.

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.


This article explained why teens and young adults may have trouble keeping to their school routine when they are depressed. It showed how depression impacts all aspects of their life and going to school is, sometimes, extremely difficult.

Aside from that, the article highlighted ways students can cope with this, and how parents can help students that are going through depression, and with that, facilitate their school attendance. 

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.