Missing school because of depression (A comprehensive guide)

In this guide, we will discuss how missing school because of depression affects a student, how it affects their school performance, and what can be done to help cope with missing school because of depression.

As a teen, it’s a common trope that you’re supposed to be moody and stressed out, but for many of us, when paired with anxiety or depression, any “normal” anxiety transforms into serious problems. In fact, up to 20 percent of teenagers experience depression, according to one survey, while other research has found that almost 32 percent of teenagers suffer from anxiety.

Of course, a big stressor is education. This takes up the whole day, then involves long hours spent on homework or extracurricular activities. School is a prerequisite for most teenagers, if not exactly needed by statute, then at least required by the parents or individuals you count on. Depression or anxiety make school an even greater challenge.

In school, kids and teens who deal with depression sometimes find themselves struggling. Depression symptoms can directly interfere with learning and the completion of work. For a child or teen with depression, this may result in a vicious loop.

The depressed student may feel anxious about going back to school.

Poor school performance can lead to feelings of disappointment and increased stress, exacerbating the depression. To better support their child or adolescent, there are steps and methods that parents should take. To find ways to specifically tweak your approach to your child, it is important to understand how depression can impact learning and school achievement.

Missing school because of depression affect a student

Here are the main indicators to look out for when checking in on yourself to ensure that depression does not impact your success at school.

  • Irritability/angriness
  • Troubles with self-esteem
  • Diminished motivation
  • Problems with sleep
  • Perfectionism
  • Abuse of substances
  • Social problems


It becomes hard to deal with children you don’t like or put up with teachers hounding you when your composure wears thin. Irritability will make teachers or other children lash out at you.

Troubles with self-esteem

When you are full of self-doubt, it is hard to get through the day or the job that revolves around success. In university, in sports, or in social settings, you’re supposed to perform well. If you continually criticize yourself, it feels overwhelming to be “always-on” at school.

Diminished motivation

It’s tough to make yourself do things you don’t want to do when you’re feeling down and exhausted. Grades will suffer and attendance.

Problems with sleep

With both anxiety and depression, sleep disorder is widespread, making it difficult to concentrate in class, think logically and quickly, and keep up with your various obligations.


Particularly for nervous teenagers, anything you do can be influenced by the desire to be perfect. You start expecting too much, doing too much, and criticizing too much for yourself. Even small errors after you’ve lost a more forgiving outlook can be devastating.

Abuse of Substances

Experimenting with alcohol or drugs is common for teenagers, but for teens with depression or anxiety, the desire or pressure to feel different or avoid your feelings can lead to addiction.

Social problems

You should separate yourself from friends if you feel down. You might avoid social situations if you’re nervous because you worry about embarrassment or rejection.

Impact of depression on school performance

Loss of Enjoyment, Interest, or Motivation 

A child may stop caring about their school work, or even their peer relationships. It is difficult to see the importance of doing work for something that the child does not see or feel the advantage of doing.


Unexpectedly, children can become afraid of attending or participating in school. When feeling nervous, it is often hard to learn. Students who are nervous are also worried about their anxiety and unable to concentrate on lessons or schoolwork.

Feelings of Hopelessness

If they believe that they have no chance of success, children will not see the point of engaging in school. Depression can distort the understanding of truth, causing a capable child to conclude that a task will not be successful, or that any good can come from properly doing the task.

Concentrating Difficulty

Your child will not be able to concentrate and focus on their school lessons or complete their school work.


Feeling exhausted will make it difficult to wake up and attend school for your child, and to stay awake during class time. The time that could be spent on homework can also compete with increased time to sleep or rest. They may want to use what little energy your child has for less demanding activities than school-related work.

Appetite changes

Smooth, stable energy levels contribute to consistent focus and success in school. Children and adolescents with anxiety can not feel like eating, which may lead to low energy and reduced attention.

Body Aches That Can’t Be Explained

Focusing on something other than their suffering is hard for a kid who is sore and achy.

Research on the rise of depression in schools

A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in the previous year, nearly a third of all high school students had experienced major periods of depression and hopelessness, and 17 percent had planned suicide, both figures reflecting a dramatic rise in the last decade. According to a report published in the medical journal Pediatrics, the suicide rate has risen nationally by 30 percent since 1999 and is especially high for girls, children living in rural areas, and students during the school year.

The reforms in school policies, along with other initiatives, have been significant strides in eliminating the stigma surrounding youth mental wellbeing and suicide, which has long been veiled in shame, according to mental health advocates. The first move in solving this crisis is to reduce the stigma surrounding it. We need to say that it’s just as OK to take care of a broken bone or physical disease for reasons of mental health,” Debbie Plotnick, a vice president of Mental Health America, says.”

Coping with missing school because of depression

The easiest way to deal with depression is to speak to someone else and seek specialist support if you need it. We all have our “off” days (or even weeks), but clinical treatment is also needed for chronic or serious depression. Still, when you’re struggling with these disorders, there are things you can do on your own to cope better with education.

  • Cut back
  • Identify social support systems and distractions
  • Avoid avoidance
  • Blow off steam
  • Seek professional treatment

Cut back up

It might seem like all is a must at school, but this is typically not true. Is it possible to take a semester off from a sport? To get into college, do you really need a full load of AP courses? To see what you can drop from your busy schedule, talk with a trusted friend, parent, or adult at school.

Identify social support systems and distractions

Take a close look at the individuals in your life. Who’s there for you forever? Who’s making you feel good? Who’s making you feel worse? Try to spend more time with your lovers and let go of those who don’t love you.

Avoid avoidance 

Although you may need to cut back on certain duties to alleviate your tension, don’t let exhaustion or fear make you avoid the necessities. Later, the missing class makes it more difficult to go out. It can intensify feelings of depression or worry by isolating yourself too much.

Blow off steam 

Do things you enjoy, particularly if they require a little physical exercise or time outdoors, as much as you may not feel like it. Replace any unpleasant habits with stuff that make you feel comfortable when you look down on the basics.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Seeking treatment for missing school because of depression

There are several ways to combat depression, all of which should be addressed before taking any action with a medical professional. Some of the most frequent ones include:


Speaking about symptoms and emotions with a qualified therapist will also help students better handle any mental health problems they are experiencing. Interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are common forms of psychotherapy.


A variety of different forms of antidepressants are currently on the market to treat a range of depression and/or anxiety disorders.


This method of therapy uses electrical or magnetic currents to induce and change the function of the brain and has been used successfully for the treatment of many cases of depression.

In this guide, we will discuss how missing school because of depression affects a student, how it affects their school performance, and what can be done to help cope with missing school because of depression.

FAQs: Missing school because of depression

Can I skip school for a mental health day?

Driven by high youth suicide and depression rates, some states are now providing students with legal support to take a ‘mental health day. Legislation passed in Oregon this summer would give students five excusable days in a three-month span for mental wellbeing. In Utah, in addition to physical illnesses, allowable diseases were extended in 2018 to include mental illnesses.

Can I miss school because of anxiety?

Currently, some forms of persistent absenteeism are called “school refusal,” induced by anxiety, depression, family crises, and other stressful events. It can lead to school days being skipped for weeks or even months.

What is the leading cause of depression?

It’s complicated because many causes of major depression are present. The way your brain controls your moods may be affected by factors such as genetic susceptibility, extreme life stressors, substances you can take (some prescriptions, narcotics, and alcohol), and medical conditions.

What percentage of students have symptoms of depression?

Before they reach adulthood, about 20 percent of all teenagers experience depression. At any one time, between 10 and 15 percent suffer from symptoms. Just 30 percent of teenagers who are depressed are being cared for it.

Is it OK to skip classes?

As long as you have a legitimate reason for missing, skipping class once in a while is not such a bad idea. You will start skipping class once in a while and later on progress to becoming a habit. The world still has a way for individuals who miss class to teach them a lesson.

Is it bad to skip one day of school?

It’s no big deal to miss a couple of days. It doesn’t take many absences to have an effect on the grades or ability of a student to graduate. According to Attendance Works, the academic performance of a student can be dramatically affected by missing only two days a month, 18 days a school year.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.



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