What is depression?
it’s important to define depression in children as a mental health disorder.
Psychiatry.org defines depression as:
“Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”
How does depression differ in youth?
Often adults will present with feelings of sadness, hopelessness or numbness, which they can identify and communicate as changing emotions.
Children or teens on the other hand may not identify changing feelings and instead report symptoms of physical pain such as upset stomachs, head arches or general pain. Also, instead of a general feeling of sadness, youth can show heightened levels of irritability, sensitivity to criticism or acting out or defying rules.
How to recognize depression in youth?
Depression can often be identified in youth through a sudden or rapid change in academic performance, a lack of desire to be social/ see friends or a sudden uptick in school absence due to unexplainable illness. Children or teens can often complain of physical ailments that have no proven medical rationale.
How to treat adolescent depression ?
As a caregiver or parent, it’s important to seek help for a child or teen who you believe may be suffering from depression. A good place to start is to be open and communicate your concerns to your child (if appropriate for their age). It’s also recommended to seek professional help through their paediatrician, psychiatrist or trained counsellor.
Depression in youth can be treated in a number of ways including: counselling/therapy, medication or a combination of both.
It’s important for parents or caregivers to be involved in their child’s mental health journey and they may even be asked to take on an active participatory role in their recovery.
Things to look for when seeking professional help for your child?
It can sometimes be hard for children or teens to break out of their shells and share with a stranger. Because of this, it’s important to look for a trained professional with a specialty or experience in youth counselling or mental health. As experts in this field, professionals who often work with children and teens have developed techniques and tricks of the trade to relate and help build trust with youth clients.
At Reflection Centre, we have team members who specialize in youth counselling, available to help your child or teen through their mental health journey. For more information, please call us today!