Depression

A child or young person may receive a diagnosis of depression if they have experienced an uncharacteristic low mood, irritability, and lack of enthusiasm for life for two to four weeks. These emotions often continue to worsen and last for a long time. Depression should be taken seriously, as it can lead to life-threatening outcomes such as self-harm and even suicide.

As a parent, it can be overwhelming to understand all the signs of depression and be able to handle them in a way that will help your child. The most important thing to remember is to approach your child with care and empathy and truly listen to them. Young people do not choose to be depressed and they cannot just make it go away. Making comments such as “why can’t you just be happy?” will only worsen your child’s mental struggle, so avoid blaming them for how they feel as this will only cause them more shame and guilt.

There are some risk factors to look out for which may make your child more vulnerable to developing depression such as abuse, exposure to drug and alcohol use, moving home, divorce, grief, and seeing a family member go through mental health issues. As a parent, you can keep an eye on how your child deals with these difficult situations

There are ways you can help as a parent before you’re able to contact a professional to show your care and support. Frequently checking in with your child and asking to talk if they are comfortable shows them you are there to listen to them, even if they may not be ready to talk about how they’re feeling yet. You can encourage them to practise sports and pursue their hobbies, but do not push them to do so, as this may make them feel useless or hopeless that they may never feel like they want to do the things they once loved to do again.

If the depression is mild or there are understandable reasons for feeling sad, you may not need to refer immediately to a healthcare professional. However, if the feelings worsen and persist for a prolonged period of time, it is best to approach the GP or the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO).

To learn more, watch our videos on children’s real-life experiences of depression and our informational film on depression in children.

Watch our Films

Depression in Children Information Film

A child with depression can experience problems not just with how they feel, but also how they behave. Depression in children is treatable, but often young people are not recognised as being depressed so they don’t get the right help. This film explains how to identify and help a child showing the symptoms of depression.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Depression and Me: Real Life Child Mental Health Experiences

Please note – some images and content may be upsetting or disturbing. This film is not intended to be watched by children.

This short film features real life accounts of Depression experienced by young people. Through their words we see the importance of early intervention by parents and teachers.

A child with depression can experience problems not just with how they feel, but also how they behave. Depression in children is treatable, but often young people are not recognised as being depressed so they don’t get the right help.

Nip in the Bud strongly believes that early intervention and support for children ensures far better outcomes.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

Watch Now

How to Recognise Symptoms of Depression

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

Watch Now