A Google search of how to deal with depression in children yielded 42 million results. That says it all right there. It is prevalent and resources are needed to help parents as they deal with depression in their child.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has some disturbing statistics. By the time children reach 18 years old 11 percent of them have experienced some sort of depression. Interestingly boys are less likely to experience depression than girls. The older a child gets their risk of suffering from depression increases. Want to know the number one cause of disability among 15-44 year olds? Major depressive disorder, that’s according to the World Health Organization.
1. Try to find the cause. Is it thought patterns? Is it eating habits triggering the depression? Make sure they are getting plenty of Omega-3 (i.e. fish oil). Is it a bully at school or some other event they have not shared with you? In an effort to find out the cause, do something relaxing and enjoyable in order for your child to let down their guard to share what is on their heart.
2. Teach them how to deal with wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts can be negative thoughts about themselves, others and negative things that have happened. Explain to them that dwelling on those kinds of thoughts harm their well-being. Give them uplifting music to listen to, lighthearted books to read and activities to keep them busy; in order for their minds to get off of the negative.
“As a man thinks, so is he.” – Old Proverb
3. Tell them it’s ok to feel sad, but it’s not ok to live in perpetual sadness so much that it hinders their enjoyment of life. Get them to focus on others. Have them make cards and letters for those serving in the army oversees. Create a care package for a college sibling, family member or neighbor. Have them help out the elderly. Anything to take their minds off themselves.
4. Help your child find something to do that they absolutely love. Depending on the age of your child, it might be your child doesn’t feel needed or a little lost as they figure out who they are as a person and what they want to be when they grow up.
5. If all else fails, get them professional help. Finances should not be a concern when hiring a professional in order to help your child get over his/her depression.
Have you had to deal with a depressed child? What did you do? Others may benefit from you sharing your experience.
This is not written by a professional and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for help beyond these ideas.