Early Signs of Depression in Kids, Symptoms, and What to Do
Learn the signs of depression in kids and how parents should react if they see any symptoms.
Depression is not an adult problem. It also affects kids and teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every five youngsters aged 12 to 17 had experienced a significant depressive episode in the previous year. (2021)
Children may struggle to detect depression because they lack the words to explain these deep emotions.
Depression isn't something like a trend that will pass in time. Some children are not diagnosed because their symptoms are misinterpreted as typical emotional or psychological changes. It is a real life issue that we should address. If not taken care of, it could lead to more severe problems in the future.
As parents, it is important to be aware of the signs of depression in kids so they can get help if needed.
Here are some signs and symptoms of depression that you should look out for in your children:
- Disconnecting from people and activities they love. Losing interest in school or poor performance in school.
- Eating habits change, either eating more or less than usual. They may not sleep well or still feel tired even with enough sleep.
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or paying attention.
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
- Complaining of physical problems like headaches or stomach aches
- Tired all the time and shows low energy.
- Talking about death or suicide
Of course, it's important to keep in mind that not every child who exhibits these signs is depressed. It could be that they're going through a tough time and need some extra support, or simply are looking for some extra attention.
If you find your kid showing multiple of these symptoms and it is interfering with their everyday life, do what you can to show up, to be there, to let them share what’s going on… or even to reach out for professional help..
If you think your child is experiencing depression, the following methods might help:
- Talk to your child about their feelings.
Kids may not have an idea why they feel sad and why things seem difficult for them. But that is why you are there with them. Help them feel that they are not alone. They are going through a hard time, and make sure they know that you are always there for them. No matter what! Listen to your child, comfort them, and show them your support and love.
- Have a chat with your child's physician.
Inform the physician of any unexpected mood changes that last for weeks and other symptoms such as sleeping more or less than expected and eating less food.
- Take your child to a therapist.
Mental health professionals will do an in-depth examination for depression by asking questions and listening. Explain to your child that they need not be afraid since the therapist will assist them along the way. Remind them that it’s to help guide them through difficult times… that it is NOT a punishment.
- Calmly deal with your child.
Your child may be moody and difficult at times. If you are having a hard time, consult with a therapist about how to handle these instances. Always be kind and patient. Guide them to better behavior. Show them that you are proud of the better positive behavior they show.
- Spend time with your child.
If they feel your presence, they will feel your love and comfort. Do things you both enjoy, bond while doing house chores, and play outside. These activities can boost their mood and can aid in creating a healthier relationship..
There are various things that could be happening around your child. These can be changes in their life that might be overwhelming. These new instances may affect them immensely, cause sadness, or maybe even create confusion. They might feel lost and go through something they don't even know. At these moments, you can encourage them through your presence. Sometimes, having you around is enough... And we, the Mental Gang, are also here for you! Never lose hope!
There are several options for getting depression treatment. Only you and your family know what's best in this situation. If you feel necessary… reach out for help from a medical professional if you're concerned about your child's mental health. Children who receive proper treatment can overcome depression and enjoy happy and healthy lives. Also.. in this day and age… children just need their parents to be present. Be there, show you care. Show that you have no judgment. Remind them that they are never a burden.
We hope that this blog helped you! If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to leave us a comment or message us on our socials.