It’s normal for kids and teenagers to feel down, angry or irritable from time to time. But when these difficult feelings start to linger for longer periods of time, they may start to impact on a child’s ability to function as they usually do. This might be a sign of depression.
Similar to adults who struggle with depression, children or teenagers who are experiencing depression may struggle with:
- Sadness or irritability
- Self-blame, guilt or feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulties with concentration
- Changes in sleep or appetite
- Lose interest in activities that they normally enjoy
- May withdraw from their friends or family
- Hard for them to be motivated to make an effort to do simple things
- Some may also have thoughts of suicide or self-harm
As depression can show in many different ways, it can be hard to pinpoint. Low energy and loss of interest may look like laziness or not trying. Irritability or low moods can also seem like defiance or disrespect.
What can I do?
If you think your child or teenager is experiencing depression, talk to your child about his or her feelings and be curious about things that may be happening at home or at school that may be bothering him or her. Validate their feelings and show that you understand that things may not be easy for them. Encourage engagement with physical activity and using other creative outlets, such as writing, colouring, music, sports, or dance. Ensure a good bedtime and sleep routine, and that they eat lots of nutritious food.
Seek support from your GP or a psychologist if some of these difficulties persist for more than a few weeks.
Check out the vlogs and blogs from my colleagues on this topic of depression, including the role of nutrition, behaviour activation, and online resources for depression.
Feel free to give us a call on 63810071 if you wish to have a chat with a psychologist at Prosper Health Collective on this topic.