Warning Signs- 5 Signs Your Child May Be Suffering from Depression

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If your child has a cold, or the flu, you would treat it. If they have a more serious condition like asthma or juvenile arthritis, you would take them to a doctor and come up with a plan to deal with the disease. Depression in children, while it’s not always as visibly apparent as some other diseases, also needs to be treated. It can be difficult to determine if a child is suffering from depression. The signs aren’t exactly the same in kids as they are in adults. Here are five signs that your child might be depressed:

  1. A sudden change in behavior at school. If your child has always been fairly well behaved and suddenly starts showing signs of troublesome behavior at school, he or she might be suffering from depression. A sudden drop in grades, frequent trips to the principal’s office or refusing to go to school, are all signs that a child might be suffering from depression.
  2. Depressed, unmotivated mood. If your child seems sad, or unmotivated, it might be a sign that they are suffering from depression. This is especially true if there does not seem to be any particular cause for their low mood.
  3. Low self-esteem. Kids with depression may express harsh opinions of themselves. Low self-esteem, not feeling like they have worth, is a definite sign that you should not ignore.
  4. Withdrawing from activities. Sometimes, kids will withdraw from sports, class, and extracurricular activities. They may not want to interact with their peers. Occasionally they will isolate themselves in their rooms and spend most of their time alone. If this happens rarely, it’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if it happens often, and over a long period of time, then it might be a sign of something more.
  5. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If you find evidence that your child is hurting his or her self or is harboring suicidal thoughts, it should be cause for immediate concern and you should take action right away, take your child to the emergency room or contact your primary care provider.

Remember that communication is key. Talk to your child and listen to what they have to say. If you notice these signs in your child, seek help from a professional. Riley at IU Health has resources for kids suffering with depression.

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