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Our Kids Need Our Help: Addressing the Misconceptions of Depression in Children

Emmanuel L. Rock, MS, ALC, NCC

Associate Licensed Counselor/Board Certified Counselor


Weiss Lake Counseling Services, Mental Health Service

839 West Main Street, Centre, AL


Emmanuel L. Rock | The Weekly Ledger News |

MENTAL HEALTH - It's not just adults who suffer from mental health conditions. Children can also have them, and the symptoms can be very similar. However, the way children express these emotions may be significantly different. Parents and caregivers of children sometimes find it difficult to identify the symptoms of certain illnesses, because they lack awareness of what signs to look for. This is especially true in mental disorders, such as depression. There are many misconceptions surrounding depression, such as the belief that one can simply "snap out" of it. However, this is not the case among children.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children who have

experienced loss of a loved one, have conduct issues, or learning difficulties are significantly more likely to develop depression.

A common misconception is that children and teenagers are not susceptible to depression because they are "too young." However, parents, caregivers, and other adults should be aware that children of all ages can suffer from depression, and it should not be mistaken for other reasons, such as acting out or laziness. Some potential causes of depression in children include divorce or separation from parents, bullying, instability at home, poor nutrition, lack of social support, and a family history of depression.

Depression is a mental health condition that can be treated with therapy, medication, social support or a combination of all three. If you can catch the symptoms of mental illness early on, you may prevent them from becoming severe, and reduce the likelihood of future mental health problems. Though depression can differ between children and adults in terms of how it presents, research has shown it can have similar changes and symptoms in the brain. Therefore, early intervention is essential to prevent the problem from getting worse.

If you notice your child or teenager beginning to show signs and symptoms of depression, such as withdrawal from friends and activities, changes in eating or sleeping habits, or hopelessness, it is essential that you seek professional help as soon as possible to get them the help they need. The Depression Treatment Hotline (866-619-7729) can help with any questions you may have regarding inpatient treatment. If your child is in an emergency, please call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room for medical assistance as soon as possible. If you have questions or would like to talk to me about treating depression in children, you can also contact my office at Weiss Lake Counseling Services at 256-927-5920 or my direct line at 256-273-9369.

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