It is sometimes hard for parents to detect and accept the fact that children can get depressed in a major way. At times, this will not be taken seriously because of denial. Thus, the condition can be blown out of proportion when it is already discovered.
As with adults, this can result from physical health like suffering from a chronic illness such as cancer or diabetes. Sustaining a severe injury that can result in physical disability and even biochemical disturbance in the brain may possibly cause depression. Certain life events like the death of a loved one or a pet are also predisposing factors to depression. For the most part, having a family history and genetic vulnerability to the mental state is considered a primary cause of depression in children. Other risks will include environmental and situational factors such as homelessness, poverty, and bullying.
Depression is significantly more common in boys under age 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression.
What Should Parents Do?
Awareness of the condition. Be mindful of your children’s activities. If previously they were usually hyperactive or energetic and just all of a sudden there is a noticeable change on the activities like showing disinterest or withdrawal from doing the usual stuff, then that is a cause for worry. Their performance and grades in school are also affected – having low grades and getting involved in trouble. Sometimes you can detect depression and a gloomy mood on how they dress and present themselves. Selection of dark-colored clothes or those with monochromatic tones is a critical indicator that they are emotionally disturbed. This can also be true of the type of music they listen to.
Look out for hidden clues. You can start by watching their social media behavior. If you are able to monitor their social media posts (which is highly recommended), try to examine the pattern of their tweets or Facebook posts. Children nowadays are very fond of the internet and have considered this as their resounding wall for all their inner demons. The messages that they post online are silent screams and some statements can give out hints of their true feelings and the current state of mind they are in. There is a significant number of cases where the child has posted a message online before committing suicide. As always, prevention is better than a pound of cure. In this case, recognizing your children’s actions is the best way to detect depression and its adverse effect which is suicide.
Talk to your child. This is the basic and essential thing that you should do once you notice that there is something wrong or off with your child. As parents, we know this for sure. We have this in our gut feeling that something is not right. But we don’t want to assume forever and just wait for the turn of events. Do not try to rationalize everything that is going on with your child. Establish a trusting relationship and try to know what’s the real problem that they are facing.
Tell your child’s doctor. The first medical professional that you can rely on is the pediatrician. Several tests will be done in order to evaluate if the child has clinical depression and may need a referral to a child psychologist or psychiatrist for that matter.
Provide safety and security. Together with depression is the high risk for suicide or self-harm. Make sure that all pointed and sharp objects, medications, household cleaning products, and alcohol are stored away and out of reach.
Help and support your child. Provide worthwhile and creative activities, and help your child relax. Make time to be with them and listen attentively when they are trying to communicate.
Do you need more advice on how to help your child? You can visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/.