What’s in this article?
- About Depression
- Recognizing Depression
- Dealing with depression
- Getting Help
More often than not, we view depression as an adult concern. Statistics show that 1 in 33 American children are suffering the effects of mild to
severe depression. And as teenagers, that number jumps as high as 1 in 8 children suffer with depression. As parents, it is our job to
Understanding Depression In Children, to address our concerns immediately and seek appropriate guidance and care so our children are able to thrive
and grow into self sustaining adults.
Common Signs Of Depression In Children
- Lack of interest in activities they once loved.
- Noticeable changes in weight and appetite.
- Decrease in energy levels.
- Not able to complete simple tasks.
- Display signs of low self esteem.
- Mood swings, ranging from sad, and angry that lasts most of the day.
- Thoughts of death.
Dealing with depression takes a toll on the entire family unit. Dealing with depression can at often times is scary as well as intimidating. Understanding
depression in your child can be difficult. There are ways we can help our children.
1.) Take time to talk with your child. Explain to them that they are entitled to their feelings and you are here to help them. Allow your child to express
their feelings, their fears, what’s bothering or worrying them. Kids find it very difficult when losing a loved one, a family pet, or even their best friend
has moved away. And this is understandable, all these emotions are hard for children to deal with and to find and express with words what they are feeling
on the inside.
2.) Make special time to spend with your child, doing activities that they enjoy; yet away from the issues that are troubling them. Spending special one
on one time reinforces in your children that you genuinely care for their well being and our children need this added extra attention at all times.
I also suggest encouraging your child to get more physical activity into their day. Watching too much television, too much video games or computer time
actually can make depression worse. Fresh air does everyone good, go on family bike rides, or take a hike together; encourage outdoor time – it does
well for everybody!
3.) Depression is hard. It is even harder when our children find it difficult to express what they are feeling. I’ve seen children overcome depression through writing.
This allows children space to rid their emotions onto paper. Many children benefit with art therapy. Any way that we can find positive outlets to encourage
our children to open up to express what they are feeling and positive ways to deal with their emotions. Sometimes we need to seek help from professionals,
and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this! We can always consult with our children’s school teacher in regards to behavior in the classroom setting
and seek help through the school guidance counselor.
As parents, we should never overlook or ignore the signs that possibly our child is struggling. Depression is a serious illness, but it is manageable and the
quicker we start to tackle it, the better. Typically, most every individual will experience bouts of depression through out their lives. Our approach is to address
the signs and provide healthy and positive outlooks and providing the care and support that our children need. Learning positive coping mechanisms
at a young age will ensure our children can better cope as adults.