Spotting depression in young children

As a parent, your child is your main priority and making sure they are okay.  It can be hard to know if your young child is struggling. We have a worldwide concern about depression and suicide in young people, but what we need to be aware of is that it isn’t only young adults or teenagers that are suffering as young children can also experience this; the signs are just more difficult to read. Facts show that as many as 2 per cent to 3 per cent of children the ages 6 to 12 can suffer from serious depression. Having depression is equally common in girls and boys, though among adolescents, it is twice as common with girls. This leading to last for most of their adult life.


What to look for 

When becoming aware of depression with your young child, the initial thing to look for is irritableness rather than actively seeming sad. The child may not completely understand what they are feeling, so this can come across as cranky.  So the adult needs to look for signs, look into what the child says, act, or even stop doing. Recognise the significant changes in functioning. This might mean that the child is losing interest in the toys, jokes or rituals that used to be fun. Look out for tiring easily, loose of appetites and just overall seeming flattened. Ensure you get information from the school if applicable; teachers may pick up on things parents may not always recognise.

Alongside this, we may look at our child acting up as behavioural problems if they have daily tantrums etc. However, it is really driven by how the kid is feeling on the inside.


Don’t be afraid to ask your child their thoughts, even tho they may not be able to express this to you. Showing that you can see a difference may help that bit more. A scary thought for any parent is potential suicide attempts. Though this is rare in primary children, it has increased in recent years. Being the second leading cause of death in children ages 10 to 14 in 2018. Times are tougher these days, and we want to make sure our children are safe in every aspect. Be aware, consistent and focus on your children’s daily moods and be able to help make that change. Contact your doctors or local specialist, and the help is out there.