Depression happens at any age. While depression is often thought of occurring in teens, young adults, and older adults, it can happen to children as well, particularly older children.
Depression in children has similar symptoms to adulthood depression. A child may not enjoy the activities they used to enjoy, feel irritable all the time, or just appear to be bored. With that said, there are some difference. Irritability can occur more in a depressed child, for example.
If you suspect your child is depressed, what can you do to help? Here are some options.
Talk to your child’s doctor or therapist and they can help diagnose your child with depression, or see if it’s something else. Diagnosing is always a good first step, and after you do this, you can then figure out how to treat them.
Don’t keep your child in the dark because you think they won’t understand. Explain to them that depression is real, it’s normal to feel this way, and that the child should not blame themselves. Talk to them in a way they can understand that doesn’t feel too condescending.
Explain Their Treatment
Chances are, your child may need to take some medication or see a counselor. Online therapy is also a good option for your child. One convenient option is online counseling with BetterHelp. Be blunt and tell them the exact reason why they’re receiving the treatment. Tell them their medicine can make them feel better. Tell them a therapist can help them with their symptoms and figure out a cause.
Keep Them Healthy
Skip out on the fast food whenever possible and encourage healthy eating, along with exercise appropriate for a child. While changing their diet isn’t a magic cure, it can help the child feel better and improve their health.
Listen to Them
Just because you believe you had it harder as a child doesn’t mean your child is having an easy time. Listen to your child’s feelings and concerns and talk to them like they’re an adult. While children aren’t small adults, there are issues that should require little to no sugar coating.
Make Sure They’re Sleeping Well
Getting good sleep is a way to combat depression. Make sure your child isn’t staying up at night and is getting adequate sleep. If there is a sleep problem, talk to your child’s doctor and see what can be done about it. For any age, a good night’s rest can help.
Don’t Forget About School Life
For your child’s schooling, inform their teachers and counselors. This can help the staff figure out an education plan that is best suited for your child. Your child may get more time to work on assignments or personalized lessons. Make sure this special treatment is done in a way that your child can understand.
Depression is horrifying for anyone to go through, but in childhood, depression can be confusing and outright terrifying. By educating your child, you can help them have a better experience as they fight depression.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.