- Approximately 4% of children experience depression, with higher percentages among girls than boys.
- Environmental factors, genetics, traumatic events, and chemical imbalances can all contribute to childhood depression.
- Parents should limit their child’s exposure to technology and social media while also encouraging positive interactions with them.
- Professional help is essential for severe cases to provide effective therapies such as CBT or talk therapy.
- Comforting words, hugs, and quality time spent together can help build trust and ensure children feel loved.
As a progressive and caring parent, it’s heart-wrenching to see your child facing depression. It can be one of the most overwhelming and distressing experiences for the child and the parent. While depression is a complex and multifaceted condition, there are underlying factors that contribute to it in children. Here’s what you need to know about depression among children and how to deal with it.
- Children and Depression
- Causes of Depression in Children
- Dealing With Depression Among Children
Children and Depression
It’s estimated that about 4% of children have been diagnosed with depression. It disproportionately affects girls, with about 6% diagnosed compared to only 2.5% of boys. Children can experience very similar symptoms as adults regarding depression but may be less likely or able to verbalize their feelings. Common signs include an overall lack of enthusiasm for life, withdrawal from activities and peers, irritability or mood swings, intense fear of failure, and physical complaints such as headaches or stomach aches.
Causes of Depression in Children
Various biological, environmental, and psychological factors can cause depression in children. Here’s what you need to know about it.
You may not realize it as parents, but environmental factors can significantly affect your child’s mental health. For instance, constantly exposing your child to bullying, violence, or toxic surroundings can affect their emotional well-being. Therefore, creating a safe and secure home environment for our children is crucial in preventing depression.
Unfortunately, genetics plays a vital role in determining whether our children are more vulnerable to depression. If a close family member has a history of depression, it can increase your child’s chances of developing depression. However, it isn’t always guaranteed that your child will face the same fate; environmental factors might be a significant contributing factor.
Children are vulnerable to traumatic events, which can trigger depression. These traumatic events could be physical or emotional abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, or natural disasters. Being sensitive and vigilant about your child’s mental state is imperative if they have faced a traumatic event.
Chemical imbalances in the brain can be another underlying factor behind childhood depression. Low serotonin levels in the brain can cause irritability, sleep disturbances, and overall mood. If you suspect a chemical imbalance, consult a healthcare provider to determine the best action.
Social Media and Technology
Social media and technology addiction have recently significantly increased in children, leading to depression. Social media can cause anxiety, low self-esteem, and negative self-talk in children. Encourage limited technology usage and engage your children in activities that promote positive cognition.
Dealing With Depression Among Children
There are various ways you can deal with depression in children. Here are five ways to do that:
Find Fun Activities to Do
Sometimes depression can come from boredom or the lack of fun. Certain activities can change that. For example, you can start a foam party in your backyard. You can rent an affordable foam machine and start to play. That will bring some joy to your children and make them feel good.
Find Professional Help
If the depression is severe, it’s vital to get professional help. A qualified mental health professional can provide effective treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or talk therapy to address underlying issues contributing to depression.
Encourage Open Communication
Depression can be an isolating and lonely experience for children. Therefore, open communication with your children about their feelings is essential. Encourage them to express themselves without fear of judgment, and don’t pressure them into talking if they don’t want to.
Children need unconditional love and support even when depressed. Comforting words and hugs can make them feel secure and loved. Show them that you are there for them no matter what.
Build Positive Interactions
Creating positive interactions with your children will allow them to open up more about their feelings. Spend quality time together and get involved in activities they love doing. This will help build trust between both of you.
Depression among children is a serious issue that needs immediate attention from parents or guardians. Understanding the causes of depression can be beneficial if you want to prevent it or deal with it effectively. Making sure your child has a safe home environment, building positive interactions with them, and finding fun activities together are all helpful strategies for coping with your child’s depression. Above all, seeking professional help is best if you cannot tackle the issue alone.