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Home > Practice Areas > Child Mental Health > Facts and Figures

 
 

Depression in Children and Adolescents

What is severe depression?

What are the signs of depression?

What can I do to help?

What is severe depression?

  • Severe depression is a mental, emotional, and behavioral disorder that can appear in childhood or adolescence. It affects behavior, thoughts, feelings, and bodies.

  • Approximately 1 in every 20 children between the ages of 9 and 17 experience severe depression.
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What are the signs of depression?

  • Signs of depression include
    • frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
    • hopelessness
    • decreased interest in activities, or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
    • persistent boredom, low energy
    • social isolation, poor communication
    • low self-esteem and guilt
    • extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
    • increased irritability, anger, or hostility
    • difficulty with relationships
    • frequent complaints of physical illness, such as headaches and stomachaches
    • frequent absences from school, or poor performance in school
    • poor concentration
    • a major change in eating or sleeping patterns
    • talk of or efforts to run away from home
    • thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior

  • Some young children may pretend to be sick, be overactive, cling to their parents, refuse to go to school, or worry that their parents or loved ones might die.

  • Depressed children and adolescents are at increased risk for committing suicide
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What can I do to help?

  • Make careful notes about behaviors of concern. Note how long they have been going on, how often they occur, and how severe they seem.

  • Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional or the child's doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis.

  • Get accurate information from libraries, hotlines, and other sources.

  • Ask questions about treatments and services.



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