Depression In Adolescents

Depression In Adolescents

Studies show that TMS is an effective treatment for adolescents with significant depression, particularly those with treatment-resistant depression.

Depression In Adolescents

How we are treating
depression with TMS?

Step 1

Contact us and provide your history of depression treatments. We will interview you at no cost to see if you meet medical necessity criteria and obtain prior authorization, if applicable, from your insurance company.

Step 2

Bring your teen to our clinic for about 15 minutes daily, five times per week, for six weeks. The treatment itself only takes up about three minutes of each visit, and the patient can immediately return to school, work, or family life afterward.

Step 3

Both teen and family should participate in our life skills classes, acupuncture or acupressure, and our biofeedback program sessions at no added cost. TMS works best as part of a comprehensive care package. Weekly psychotherapy with your own therapist is also strongly encouraged and typically leads to better outcomes.

Our experts

John L Fleming
Doctors Profile
John l Fleming, MD. DLFAPA.

Medical Director of SCTMSC, LLC, John is a Board Certified Psychiatrist and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has over 40 years’ experience treating depression and related conditions and is recognized as a leader in the psychiatric profession. Since 2011 he has been a certified Provider Trainer and TMS provider for three different TMS treatment systems. His experience base includes psychopharmacology of complex conditions. psychotherapy of individuals and couples and the medical aspects of psychiatric illness. He has annually been selected by his peers as one of America’s Best Doctors since 2005.

About Melissa Hammock
Melissa Hammock, M.A., M.Ed., LMFT

Services Director of SCTMSC, LLC, Melissa received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University and her master’s in special education from California State University, Los Angeles. Melissa is a Certified Life Coach and a member of the International Positive Psychology Association. Melissa is also a Certified TMS Provider.

Melissa has been in private practice in Colorado Springs since 1981, working with adults, adolescents, and couples. Melissa specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and trauma-based disorders. She has received training in EMDR, Cognitive Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Energy Therapies, Interpersonal Therapy and Accudetox. Melissa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has been involved with TMS treatment since 2011.

About Joe Hammock
Joe Hammock, M.A., PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Director of SCTMSC, LLC and Certified TMS Provider since 2011, Joe is a licensed psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association. He is a graduate of Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, and additionally holds an MA from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is certified by the International EMDR Association and is a Certified TMS Provider.In his thirty years of practice in Colorado, he has specialized in the treatment of trauma-based disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, and dissociative disorders. He also has extensive experience in psychological evaluations, CBT, EMDR, forensic psychology, and is frequently consulted as an expert witness.


While nearly all adolescents struggle at times with moodiness, sadness, and down days, studies show that diagnosable depression is present in 4-5% of adolescents. Increased rates of suicide and substance abuse occur in teens with unrecognized and under-treated depression. Suicidal thoughts among teens  during the COVID pandemic has increased between 40% and 60%. Completed suicides among this age group are up between 25% and 40% depending on the part of the country one examines.


The consequences of depression during the teen years can be very serious. Depression at any age includes inability to feel pleasure and low motivation. This complicates social life and peer relationships. Depressed adolescents can turn to substances or sexual behaviors to provide relief from depression, to escape its effects on daily life, or in an effort to just be able to feel something. All of this comes at a time when important aspects of self-awareness and identity are usually developing, which are easily distorted by depression and its symptoms. 

Depressed adolescents are not able to participate adequately in learning or school, during a stage of life when they need to acquire key skills. While most adolescents consume a lot of social media, depressed adolescents may isolate themselves so that social media and its distractions become their only connection with the world.

Because the teenage years are already a time of rapidly shifting family relationships and boundaries, concerned parents and family members may have a particularly difficult time helping to monitor the severity of a teen’s depression and their adherence to a medication or talking therapy treatment plan. This leaves teens at greater risk.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressant medication are the main approaches to treating adolescent depression. Family therapy can also be an important approach. These can be quite effective for many, but for others, these efforts do not sufficiently address the problem.

Successful talking therapy requires a good relationship between patient and therapist, complete honesty on the part of the patient, and a commitment to progressive change and problem solving. This can be a challenge at any age but especially so for teens. One of the recognized problems with talk therapy in teens is that they can find it very difficult to talk about what they are struggling with in a fully honest manner. Some are held back by shame or embarrassment, while others so crave an hour of acceptance and positive feedback from someone that they focus on making things seem good while disguising their pain and the  true severity of what they are experiencing. 

Confidentiality is essential to how talk therapy works. Most people, and especially teens, would have even more trouble being honest with a therapist if what they said might be relayed to the other people in their lives. By the same token, however, parents often have so little information about what their depressed teen is struggling with or working on in therapy that they are unable to contribute in a meaningful way.

Antidepressants must be taken daily and often at the same time of day
to work. Teens have irregular schedules, their sleep wakes cycles vary, and they may become distracted and forgetful. All of this complicates taking antidepressant medication consistently and regularly.

Monitoring progress can also be difficult. The same issues that make complete reporting impossible with psychotherapy are relevant to medication management sessions as well. In addition, many teens do not really know what “good” feels like, so they and their doctors struggle to understand if medications are working optimally or have achieved the goal of complete remission of depression symptoms.

Most antidepressants used for treating teen depression are used “off-label.” What this means is that the antidepressant was approved by the FDA for use in adults, but not specifically approved for use in teens, whose neurochemistry is somewhat different. All antidepressants also carry a risk of increased suicidal thinking and behavior while starting the medication.

Yes. Multiple published studies show that TMS can be a safe and effective treatment for teenagers. There appears to be no difference in effectiveness between teens and adults, meaning TMS helps about 70% of those who try it. Like medication, TMS use is still “off-label” for this age group. However, TMS is not known to increase suicidal thinking, nor to cause the side effects common with antidepressants like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and sedation.

Some insurance plans limit TMS use to those over 18 based on the “off-label” issue, but this may be appealed as antidepressant medication use in teens is also “off-label.” We can work with you to see what your options may be.

We suggest involving your child’s therapist and doctor in such discussions. It’s best to approach the idea in as straightforward a manner as possible. Ask if your child’s current treatment plan is working and if progress is being made. Is there a possible need to change their medication regimen? If so, TMS has a much higher probability of positive results compared with trying a new antidepressant after others have failed (70% vs 18%). We do offer a no-obligation, no-cost assessment in which the adolescent can be evaluated, meet the team, and ultimately decide if they wish to proceed or not. Even for those who decide not to pursue TMS at the current time, exploring options can be comforting, as it provides realistic hope about the possibility of ultimate success in treating depression.

Mental Health Assessment

Do you believe that you suffer from depression or anxiety? Check out our online assessments for a quick online self-assessment to see if you suffer from a mental health related issue and to see if you qualify for treatment with TMS.

What the Patients Think

Cindy Testimonial
Cindy – 22

The Southern Colorado TMS Center is truly the most caring, compassionate mental health facility I have ever known. You always hear stories about why people have gone into the mental health field, but these folks truly live it. Everyone who works for SCTMSC (and I mean everyone), exudes warmth and empathy. They walk the walk. One of my family members utilized several of their services, and I got to witness firsthand how they deal with patients. I would highly recommend them to anyone suffering from depression, because they not only offer treatments but expect patients to participate fully in their recovery.

Patients Review
Pam – 25

Dear TMS staff, I want to express my thanks for all your sincere help while I went through a very difficult time. Every time I went to the center the staff was so kind and understanding. The educational classes in the evening were wonderful and I have learned so much about depression. I still look at the handouts you provided. I have gotten into meditation and continue to educate myself about depression and anxiety. If I watch “Friends” on the TV, I will always think of my experience at the Southern Colorado TMS Center!! Thank you for doing your job so well.

Patients Review 4
Barb – 46

All the staff at SCTMSC are very caring during all of the components of the TMS treatment. From dealing with insurance companies to adjusting one’s treatment time due to conflicts with your schedule; they are all wonderful. I would recommend TMS treatments to any person suffering MDD, as I have for many years. From my experience, TMS helped me far more than an anti-depression medication or CBT.

Patients Review 2
FB – 35

Dear TMS Team, I just wanted to say that 6 months after treatment, I am doing well. I have a new life and I am living it up. It is like being young again as I am finding my way again. I am so grateful to Dr. Fleming, Camice, Dawn and all the folks who helped me to get here! But especially to Dr Fleming.

Patients Review 3
Michelle – 37

Dear Dr. Hammock, I am so incredibly grateful and appreciative for all the time and attention you gave to my husband and me. Thank you, thank you for caring so much abut the individual person. I am also grateful that you took the time to help us separate out how we view ourselves in relation to our understanding of God’s love for us verses our symptoms of major depression; neither of us had realized or thought about that. That was incredibly insightful of you and so thoughtful of you to help us get to the root of it. Thank you for helping so many people. I can tell, that you and your team do a lot of good with very sincere hearts. It shines through unmistakably.

Jomaque C

I personally believe TMS should be the first line of treatment for major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder – no medication changes and essentially no side effects! My treatment at Southern Colorado TMS Center is my second round of TMS therapy. The first round resolved my depressive symptoms for several years but when started feeling the depression come back, I knew exactly what to do. Southern Colorado TMS was able to get me scheduled quickly and started with therapy almost immediately. The staff worked on my behalf to have the treatment covered by insurance. I cannot speak highly enough about TMS therapy and Southern Colorado TMS. The therapy has improved my mood in just 8 weeks and the staff are top-notch! I felt welcome on each visit and appreciated the extra touches like a drink and snack after treatment. Southern Colorado TMS Staff – thank you so much for all your help!

Drug free solutions for optimized brain function

We focus on delivering real solutions for our patients. We know that patients can have real life-changing results through applying TMS.

Other Conditions


Many people suffer from depression. However, through the application of TMS they may find relief.


TMS treats depression without medication or medication side effects.

Post Partum

Many mothers can suffer depression as a result of hormonal changes during or after pregnancy. TMS can help treat this type of depression effectively.

Post Partum

TMS effectively treats depression during and after pregnancy, without the use of medication.

Depression in

TMS can effectively treat depression teens.

Depression in

As a teen goes through difficult changes in their adolescent years, they can experience serious depression. TMS can help teens who suffer from depression.