It’s normal for children to feel sad, angry, or helpless sometimes, and this can be due to some understandable reasons, such as staying away from their parents. However, extreme sadness, fear, bad mood, and helplessness in children that last for a week or longer can be due to depression.
Let’s talk about how you, as a parent, can identify depression in your child, what help you can get for them, and where you can go for comprehensive pediatric care in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL.
How Can You Identify Depression in Your Child?
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can negatively impact your child’s ability to connect with family and friends, attend school and concentrate, and enjoy normal daily activities and childhood.
Signs of depression in children may include:
- A sad or bad mood that lasts for weeks or months
- Being self-critical
- Lack of energy and interest in doing favorite hobbies
- Lack of effort to do their tasks
- Aches and pains
- Changes in sleeping and eating pattern
How to Help Your Child with Depression?
If you suspect that your child is having depression, there are many things that you can do to help them. Some of these are:
Give Them Emotional Support
The very first person who can help a child with depression is their parents or guardians. The emotional support that a child with depression gets from their family acts as a building block for their further social relationships.
You can give your child emotional support by
- Spending quality time with them
- Listening to your child
- Acknowledging their struggle to cope with depression
- Encouraging them to have an open and honest conversation with you
- Being patient and kind to them
Consult with Their Pediatrician
In addition to providing your child emotional support, you should immediately inform your pediatrician. You should also tell your child’s doctor if you have noticed any change in their sleep, eating habits, efforts, and energy.
The pediatrician will thoroughly examine your child and find out the cause of your child’s depression. They will guide you on how to communicate with your child with depression and how to help them during their hard period.
The pediatrician may also refer your child to a mental health specialist when needed. They may also work with your child’s mental health specialist to develop an individualized treatment plan.
Children’s Mental Health in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
If you think your child is showing signs of depression or is vulnerable to mental health issues, visit our pediatricians here at Children’s Medical Center. We have 21 board-certified pediatricians on our team who provide comprehensive care to keep your child physically and mentally healthy. Our pediatricians also treat mental health issues of children and may refer your child to mental health specialists when needed.