Everyone deals with negative emotions sometimes. It's natural for people to sometimes feel sad, worried, or angry. Even children experience these emotions. However, sometimes these feelings can be a sign of a larger problem. If your child seems agitated or unhappy the majority of the time, they might be experiencing the early onset of a mental illness. Here are four things you can do if you think your child may be suffering from depression.
1. Know the usual symptoms.
When you think your child might be depressed, it can help if you know what to look for. According to the American Psychological Association, common symptoms of depression are irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, and withdrawing from social situations. If your child is depressed, they might also start sleeping more than usual. They might suddenly stop enjoying hobbies, sports, or activities that they used to love. When trying to spot symptoms, just remember that common mental disorders can also manifest differently in children than they do in adults.
2. Talk to your child.
While it's a good idea to keep your eye out for symptoms of mental illness, don't forget to speak to your child about how they're feeling. Make sure you're approachable. It can be frightening to think that you child may be dealing with something as serious as depression, but try to stay calm no matter what. If you panic or get upset, your child might not feel comfortable opening up to you.
3. Consult your child's physician.
If your child is showing signs of emotional disturbance, the first thing you should do is take them to the doctor. The body and mind are interconnected, and sometimes physical problems can manifest as psychological symptoms. Your child's doctor can run blood tests to test for deficiencies or illness. Sometimes the solution is as simple as getting more vitamin D.
4. Take your child to a counselor.
It can sometimes be hard for children to talk to their parents. They may not feel comfortable sharing all their feelings and thoughts with you, and you might not be equipped to help them through their depression or anxiety. You can help your child by seeking out child psychological services. A counselor trained in assisting young patients will be able to get to the bottom of your child's feelings. They can help them manage their emotions and live a happier, healthier life.
If you would like to learn more, consult with child psychological services like Carewright Clinical Services.