Childhood Depression Tips for Parents: 14 Depression Signs & Symptoms to Watch for in Kids & Teenagers by Dr. Bethany Cook Clinical Psychologist
The year 2020 has been tough on everyone, including our children. While kids are young and resilient they are often impacted much more by the “energy” in their environment than adults. This means they pick up on the non-verbal stress levels around them such as parents fighting, a pandemic raging across the globe, lack of physical contact with friends and extended family, etc.
Given what we know about childhood depression, our current life's added “stressors” are placing many children at a higher risk of developing depression than ever before. Here are some depression signs and symptoms parents should be on the lookout for:
- Feeling sad, hopeless or irritable a lot of the time.
- Not wanting to do or enjoy doing fun things.
- Social withdrawal.
- Feeling worthless, useless or guilty.
- Exhibiting self-injury and self-destructive behavior (such as cutting).
- Increased sensitivity to rejection.
- Changes in energy – being tired and sluggish or tense and restless a lot of the time.
- Changes in appetite – increased or decreased.
- Changes in sleep – sleeplessness or excessive sleep.
- Vocal outbursts or crying.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don't respond to treatment.
- Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or in school, in extracurricular activities or other hobbies and interests or with friends.
- Thoughts of or talking about death or suicide.
Since the pandemic started, the suicide rate in children has risen as well as a multitude of mental health problems. Calls to DCFS have decreased by 50 percent in some places not because abuse is down but because the kids getting abused are not going to school so mandated reporters aren’t able to see what’s going on in the home.
Whitney Houston wasn’t wrong when she sang I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the world. Our children are the future leaders of tomorrow. It’s our job today to help them develop into their best selves. Childhood depression is a treatable condition, not a life sentence.
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