Depression in Children


Children can and do feel sad for a lot of reasons. It’s normal and common for your child to feel happy and upbeat some days, and down and hopeless other days. It’s also normal as a parent to worry about your child’s mental health. If you notice your child is experiencing negative feelings frequently and for longer periods of time, he might be depressed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 6 million children between the age of 3 and 17 were diagnosed with depression in 2019. Signs and symptoms of depression among children include:

  • Difficulty with focus and attention
  • Feeling restless or extremely tired
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in certain activities
  • Irritability, hopelessness

Talk to your pediatrician, if you believe your child is experiencing a mental health issue, or any time you have concerns. Your doctor will guide you towards the next steps in getting your child the help and support she needs to navigate their feelings.

In the meantime, here are a few steps you can take to boost your child’s mood:

  1. Support healthy eating habits by offering a range of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Get active! Exercise is an effective mood booster.
  3. Ensure your child is sleeping the recommended number of hours for his age, according to the CDC.

It’s a scary and stressful time for parents when their child is experiencing mental health issues. Remember that you do have options available to you. For more information or for immediate mental health assistance, click here.

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