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7 Ways Parents Can Support Children During Depression


Most people consider depression to be an adult-only illness. However, children can also develop depression. Unfortunately, child depression is often undiagnosed because it often gets dismissed as a normal psychological and emotional part of “growing up.” However, children with depression exhibit feelings of anger, sadness, or low mood . This is why you should understand these symptoms in order to support your depressed child.

You can help your child by:

1. Get A Diagnosis And Periodic Re-Evaluation

Mental illness evolves as a child grows, and you shouldn’t assume that the first diagnosis is the most accurate one. With time, new symptoms emerge. That’s why you should request periodic re-assessment to ensure that your child is receiving the treatment they need to thrive socially, mentally, and emotionally.

2. Encourage Your Child To Socialize

Children who suffer from depression tend to shun their friends. But isolation makes depression worse. Therefore, do everything possible to help your child reconnect. You can suggest activities that may interest your child’s interest. Above all else, strive to be encouraging, focusing on how much fun your child would have by playing with friends or partaking in certain activities, rather than dwelling on how they are “missing out.”

3. Promote Physical Health

Physical and mental health are connected. Depression can be aggravated by inadequate sleep, inactivity and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teenagers often stay up late, spend hours on their mobile devices, and eat junk food. Fortunately, you as a parent have the power to combat these behaviors and create a healthy home environment. Buy only healthy snacks to keep around the house. You can even involve your child in your cooking. Additionally, because exercise is such an important part of staying mentally healthy, get your child excited about physical activity by turning on some favorite dance music.

4. Tell Your Child’s Doctor

Your child’s depression may be as a result of a medical problem. Your child’s physician will examine your child carefully and rule out any physical conditions that might be manifesting as symptoms of depression. Once a diagnosis has been made, the physician can help by recommending psychotherapy (depression counseling) or medication for depression.

5. Seek Professional Assistance

Although a healthy lifestyle can help make a difference for your depressed child, it’s not always enough. If your child is suffering from severe depression, ensure that you seek depression therapy from a professional. This person can speak with both you and your child to learn more about what might agitate the depression symptoms. The ideal profession should have a strong background in child depression treatment.

6. Prepare Your Child For Therapy

In depression therapy, respecting your child’s privacy is important. It may feel unnatural to allow your child to confide in a stranger. However, your child will resist therapy if what they shared with the counselor gets to you. Discretion is the basis of successful depression therapy. On the other hand, your child might be nervous about talking with someone they know nothing about. With this in mind, you might want to tell your child what they can expect from the appointment and stress that they are not in trouble or forced to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

7. Be Patient

Even the best treatments won’t cure your child’s depression overnight. In case you and other family members need help coping, consider making therapy a family effort and seek family counseling. This is an important step and presents you with the opportunity to see your role in your child’s problem.

Seek Depression Counseling

Most parents feel ashamed to ask for help when something is wrong with their children. However, seeking child counseling services is an act of compassion. Keep in mind that untreated depression can negatively affect your child’s life. Speaking with a counselor will help your child to communicate better, cope better, and do better.

For more information or to schedule appointment online please visit our Child Counseling page or call at 919-647-4600.

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