What Are Signs Of Depression In My Child?

Tantrums & Moods

What Are Signs Of Depression In My Child?

Depression is more than just feeling down. It is an all-encompassing feeling that affects a young person’s view of themselves, others and the world. Depression can interfere with eating, sleeping, school performance and relationships.

What is the clinical depression definition? For depression to be considered clinically significant, symptoms must have been present for at least two weeks and represent a change in previous functioning.

What are signs of depression?

Here are some key warning signs of depression in children and young people:

  • Consistent reporting of low mood (most of the day, nearly every day) and/or observation made by others e.g. unusually tearful
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping a lot more or a lot less than usual
  • Eating a lot more or eating a lot less than usual
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Feeling that life is hopeless or pointless
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

Mental health concerns may often have overlapping symptoms, for example anxiety and depression are often present together. Contributing factors e.g. substance abuse also need to be ruled out.


What Causes Depression?

There are many theories about what causes depression. Psychologists believe that mental health concerns arise from a combination of ‘biopsychosocial’ causes.

Bio – Someone may have a biological predisposition, a family history or a particular temperament that makes him or her more susceptible to becoming depressed.

Psycho – A person’s approach to self-esteem, coping skills and social skills.

Social – A person’s relationships or environment. This includes significant changes, losses and trauma.


Quick Tips:

  • Depression is common, and under-diagnosed

  • Pay attention to key features

  • If you are concerned about your child, seek a professional opinion.

  • If your child has severe depression symptoms like suicidal ideation – call 911 or visit your local emergency room for assessment

Read more on social development in children.

Want to see our developmental milestones chart?

What does resilience mean?

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Jemma Helfman, ClinPsyD., C.Psych.

About Jemma Helfman, ClinPsyD., C.Psych.

Dr. Jemma Helfman is a child and adolescent clinical psychologist. She works at Kidcrew, providing assessment and interventions for children with a variety of presenting difficulties. Jemma also provides consultation and training to schools and daycares.

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