Depression is a mood disorder that affects over 2-6% of people worldwide. Contrary to misconceptions, depression is not just feeling down or a condition someone can easily snap out of. It is a chronic and clinically recognized ailment that patients struggle through and overcome with much effort. Another common misconception is that this disease only affects adults. Childhood depression is real, and according to yalemedicine.org, an estimated 3.2% of children and adolescents show signs of diagnosed childhood depression.
The Importance Of Learning About Childhood Depression
Childhood is a time that many of us enjoy and make fond memories in. Having depression in childhood puts people at risk for primary mental health conditions as an adult and reduces the quality of life. 1 in 15 adults per year and 1 in 6 people in a lifetime will experience depression at least once. This condition consists of long periods of sadness or low mood, decreasing interest in all activities, and other signs and symptoms.
It is essential for parents, educators, and all people working with or around children to learn about childhood depression. This awareness can save a life or help ease the pain of someone. The first step to knowing more about childhood depression is learning how to identify it. While the signs of childhood depression are similar to those of depression, they can manifest in different ways and be hard to locate.
Signs Of Childhood Depression
Empathy is necessary to understand what a child is going through. Irritability, crying, hopelessness, and low energy most of the time indicate a problem with mood and a correlation with depression. This condition can manifest as difficulty in concentrating, changed behavior, and emotional outbursts. Other common symptoms and signs of childhood depression include:-
-feeling worthless or guilty,
-thoughts of suicide,
-or decline in school performance.
Read more: Warning signs of gaslighting you should not ignore
What To Do If You Identify These Problems In A Child?
If you identify these warning signs in a child, whether your own or someone else’s, you should recommend or get an official diagnosis quickly. If the child gets diagnosed with depression, a licensed professional should decide on a therapy plan based on the child’s needs, living circumstances, and other factors. Following are some of the therapy treatments most accessible and beneficial for children.
Cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) focuses on identifying and changing behaviors and negative inner talk that fuels or causes depression. After identification, positive changes are introduced. And eventually, the patient becomes better able to deal with the symptoms of depression, sometimes making a full recovery.
Play Therapy is a form of treatment that works best for children. As the name suggests, this therapy works best for young children who can be engaged and explore their feelings through play better than talk or regular psychotherapy.
Art Therapy is a treatment that consists of using art as a means of free self-expression to understand one’s feelings better. For kids, art can be a medium of self-expression that lets them face their depressive feelings without getting overwhelmed.
Read more: 5 best affordable online therapy platforms with quality care
Depression is a clinically recognized mood disorder that affects children and adults alike. The common signs of childhood depression include low mood, emotional outbursts, crying, and changes in sleep and appetite. Identifying childhood depression can save a life or improve a child’s quality of life in a significant way. Hence, educators and parents should have the necessary mental health awareness to help the children they work with when they need it the most. On that note, you can test your mental health awareness by taking this quiz.
Stay tuned to Your Mental Health Pal to learn more about childhood depression and other mental health conditions.