Find Depression Help for Kids at Meridian HealthCare

Depression can be confusing for adolescents, especially when they can’t explain how they feel or understand why they’re feeling that way. If you’re trying to learn more about depression help for kids, Meridian HealthCare is your trusted resource.

What Is Childhood Depression?

Childhood depression is a mood disorder in children or adolescents characterized by persistent sadness, irritability, and loss of interest in activities. It can affect a child’s ability to learn and interact with others and can have long-term effects on mental and physical health. While most children have mood swings throughout developmental stages, depression, by comparison, affects their mood for long periods of time.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, 3% of children aged 3 to 17 experience depression, increasing to 13.3% when focusing on young adults aged 12 to 17. When depressive episodes become longer or more frequent, it can indicate a mental health problem. If your child is experiencing symptoms of depression for two weeks or longer, call a mental health care provider for evaluation and treatment.

*If this is an emergency, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

Risk Factors for Children

Every mental health condition, including depression, has genetic factors that indicate a person’s likelihood of developing the disorder; any child with a family history of depression or another mental illness is more likely to develop one themself.

However, genetics isn’t the only factor that can cause your child’s depression. Exposure to trauma, chronic stress, low self-esteem, chronic medical conditions or disabilities, major life changes, social media, substance use, and poor social relationships can all trigger a depressive episode and lead to a disorder.

Sad child

Mental Health Services at Meridian

As a parent or caregiver, the best thing you can do to help your child’s mental health is to find a mental health professional who can determine and facilitate an effective treatment plan. Meridian HealthCare’s compassionate counselors are trained in evidence-based depression treatment to help your child feel better and overcome their depressive disorder.

Warning Signs of Depression

It’s hard to detect depression in young children, especially if they are unable to fully communicate how they feel. Keep an eye out for both physical depression symptoms and other warning signs.

Common Warning Signs of Depression

  • Loss of interest in activities the child once enjoyed
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Decreased academic performance or absenteeism from school
  • Behavioral problems at home or school
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Getting too much or not enough sleep
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Physical Symptoms of Depression

  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Headaches or stomachaches (not from another medical issue)
  • Unexplained aches and pains

*If this is an emergency or your child has had suicidal thoughts, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

Depression Treatment Options

Depression treatment plans for children come in different forms, and in certain cases, treatment plans can include a combination of therapy and medication. Because antidepressant medication can have undesirable side effects, most pediatric counselors do not prescribe medication unless absolutely necessary. (Antidepressant medications can help to alleviate physical symptoms of depression but cannot treat depression alone).

Depression treatment plans include some form of therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and family therapy), and can involve one or more therapy techniques.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing negative thinking patterns and behaviors by learning problem-solving strategies and coping skills. CBT can also address anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and more.

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, helps children improve their communication skills and relationships, address underlying stressors or traumatic experiences, and explore thought processes.

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy where close family members in the child’s life all get together to talk through issues as a unit.

Where Can I Find Help for My Child?

If your child is having a hard time, a mental health professional can help them talk through their emotions and feelings. Meridian HealthCare’s compassionate counselors are trained to properly diagnose and treat depression in young people and children. 

When you’re seeking depression help for kids, look no further than Meridian.

Get Help Now: 330-797-0070