Young people are more vulnerable and sensitive to what is happening to them and are less experienced at being able to deal with problems and anxieties. Depression can be started by a number of things, such as: parents divorcing or separating; feeling ignored and unloved or not being listened to; losing friends; changing school or moving home; worries about their looks, sexuality, health, exams or abuse.
What are the signs?
While young people can sometimes seem unhappy and quiet, you may feel that this is more than just a phase. Signs may include being unable to sleep, eating too much or too little, mood swings, staying in their bedroom all day, or giving up interests and hobbies. Crying, avoiding friends and family, finding it hard to do their schoolwork, or not caring about what they look like are other things to look out for. They may talk about death or have suicidal thoughts. To escape from their feelings or let them out in the only way they know how, young people may start taking drugs or drinking, not going to school, becoming violent or carrying out crimes such as shoplifting.
How to help
If you think your child is depressed or suffering from depression they need help; talk to them and find out if there is any way you can help. Be patient and understanding, listen to them – what may seem like small problems to you can be too much for a young person. Talk to your doctor and discuss what treatment (such as counselling) may be helpful. You could speak to your child’s school to see if they have noticed any differences in your son or daughter.
NHS Choices - Is your child depressed?
Young Minds - Parents Helpline 0808 802 5544
Rethink - Depression in children