Everyone has days when they feel sad, lonely, low, or depressed. It's important to remember that any child can experience depression. It’s very common, and research shows that nearly one in four young people will experience depression before they reach adulthood.
But, if your child seems persistently sad or low and it is affecting their relationships, he or she may be suffering from childhood depression, which is a serious mental health condition that requires medical assessment and treatment. In such a case, help should be sought as soon as possible.
Generally, depression is the result of a range of factors. While genetics can play a role, children and young people who feel "different" because of their abilities, interests, or looks may also be more at risk of childhood depression. As can those experiencing bullying, abuse, or family problems such as domestic violence or divorce.
Signs of depression in children and young people can include:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children suffering from depression may also:
Use your one-on-one time to explore this topic with your child. If you think your child could be depressed, make an appointment with them to see their doctor.
For more information on anxiety and depression in young people, check out the AAP Website.
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact Your Life Your Voice to speak to one of their counselors. Call 1-800-488-3000.
The SafeToNet Mobile App helps identify when a child is showing signs of sadness or depression while messaging others, and shares resources & audio practices that can help your child cope with difficult emotions in the moment. SafeToNet's Emotions Diary feature also provides the child with a safe place to track, articulate, and analyze their feelings.