Signs of childhood depression
Childhood depression is different from everyday emotions that a child may go through. A child being sad doesn’t mean she is depressed. However, if the sadness is interfering with the child’s daily life, it may indicate that she is depressed. Depression is a serious but treatable illness.
Signs of childhood depression
Signs that may indicate that your child is depressed include the following :
- your child is sad all day. She may let you know she is sad or angry and even tearful or cranky
- no longer wants to be with family and friends
- change in sleep pattern such as sleeplessness or excessive sleep
- change in apetite – increased or decreased appetite
- not enjoying things she use to enjoy
- feeling of worthlessness and guilt
- lack of energy to do anything
- impaired thinking or concentration
- aches and pains when nothing is really wrong
- thoughts of death or suicide
These symptoms can occur in any child but when they are frequent and occur together , it may be a sign of depression.
What should i do about my child’s depression ?
The first thing you need to do is to talk to your child about problems at home or school that may be bothering her.
You should also talk to your child’s doctor. Let her know your child’s medical conditions because some of these conditions can cause depression. The doctor may recommend psychotherapy or medications for depression. Your child’s doctor may now screen your child for depression every year starting from 11 years through 21.
What can i do to help my child ?
There are various ways you can help your child . These include doing the following :
Promoting good health
- ensuring good mental health includes eating healthy, staying active and having healthy and positive relations with people at home and school
- limit screen time and encourage interactions with people
- one-on- one time with your child to build the parent – child bond
You also need to provide security and safety for your child by doing the following
- talk to your child about bullying . Bullying is one of the major causes of health problems in children
- make changes in amount of chores, homework and activities to reduce stress in children
- lock up items such as weapons, medications and other stuff that may be dangerous to kids
Help your child to learn coping skills
- talk to and listen to your child with love and support
- help your child relax with physical and creative activities
- break down problems into smaller task
- help your child look at problems in a more positive way
Make a safety plan
- follow your child’s treatment plan
- make a list of people to call when the situation gets worse
- look out for risk factors of suicide . These include thoughts of death, giving away belongings , talking about suicide in person or on the internet and substance abuse
- make handy the phone numbers of the child’s doctor, therapist and health crisis response team
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1 800-273-8255 or online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Depression in children. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children. Accessed March 10, 2016
Understanding depression. Nemour’s Foundation. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/understanding-depression.html. Accessed March 10, 2016