Depression in young people
– recognising the signs and knowing where and when to get help
It’s a common misconception that depression only affects adults. Children and young people can also experience depression. As a parent or caregiver, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs and to seek help as early as possible. The longer depression goes untreated, the more it can disrupt a child’s life and potentially become a more serious long-term issue.
Signs of Depression in Children
Some symptoms of depression in children include:
Continuous feelings of sadness or low mood
Irritability or being grumpy most of the time
Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
Constantly feeling tired
In addition, you may also experience:
Sleep disturbances, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
Withdrawal from family and friends
Low self-esteem or confidence
Changes in appetite or weight
Physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Numbness or feeling empty emotionally
Thoughts of suicide, or self-harming behaviors such as cutting themselves or taking an overdose
Anxiety disorders may also co-occur with depression in children and young people.
Potential Causes of Depression in Children
Risk factors for depression in children include:
Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
A family history of depression or other mental health problems
Depression may be triggered by a difficult event, such as a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or problems at school or with peers. Often, depression is caused by a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and life events.
What to Do if You Think You are Depressed
If you suspect you may be depressed, start by talking. Try to determine what may be troubling you and how you’re feeling. If you don't want to talk, try to write things down and keep track of your feelings.
Please try to talk to someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, or teacher. You may also want to contact your school to see if you can recieve any help and support.
If you’re worried about your general wellbeing, make an appointment with your GP. The GP can provide referrals to local mental health services for children and young people, or you may be able to refer yourself directly. Why not try our live chat and see what support is available?
Remember, it’s important to take your depression seriously and to seek help as early as possible.