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Empowering Unique Learners
Teen with depression

What is Depression?

Depression in children is a serious mental health issue that can cause them to feel sad and hopeless. It can have significant impacts on their well-being, development, and academic performance. There are two kinds of depression diagnoses in children:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: Severe symptoms that last between two weeks and several months
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Less severe symptoms that last for a year or more

If you suspect your child may be suffering from depression, talk to their pediatrician or a mental health professional about an evaluation.

How to Help

Below are suggestions for both parents and educators who may be caring for youth who are battling depression. Awareness, communication and support are key when navigating these challenges.

For Parents:

  1. Recognizing Symptoms:
    Teen with depression
    Understand the signs of depression in children, which may include persistent sadness, irritability, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  2. Open Communication: Encourage open communication with your child. Create a supportive environment where they feel comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns.
  3. Seek Professional Help: If you suspect your child is depressed, seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
  4. Provide Support: Be supportive and understanding. Let your child know that you're there for them and that it's okay to ask for help. Offer reassurance and encouragement throughout their treatment process.
  5. Create a Healthy Environment: Foster a healthy lifestyle for your child by promoting regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and opportunities for socialization and recreational activities.
  6. Monitor Progress: Keep track of your child's progress and communicate regularly with their mental health provider. Be patient and understanding, as recovery from depression can take time.

For Educators:

By working together, parents, educators, and mental health professionals can support children who are experiencing depression and help them thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Teen at therapist

Additional Resources:

Child Mind Institute – Depression and Mood Disorders

Teen Depression 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (Provides 24/7 free and confidential support

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 (Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBT youth)