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Fighting Childhood Depression

“Depression and anxiety are common, so common, they are kind of normal.  Depression and anxiety are treatable.  You can get better.”

This quote comes from a school psychologist at Byram Hills High School in New York. Cases of depression in school-aged children are becoming more prevalent as more counselors are being asked to look out for it.  In the age of cyber bullying, more children are unable to escape being ridiculed by their classmates.  Before cyber bullying came into popularity, children could go home at the end of the school day and walk away from the other children.  The problem was still severe, but it was less of a 24 hour a day torment.  Because of all of this, children are becoming more and more depressed and anxious.

 What Parents Can Do To Combat Depression in Children

Parents or guardians are the front line of defense when it comes to children getting the help that they need to fight depression and anxiety.  There is still quite a lot of stigma that surrounds getting professional help for your child, but your concerns should never stand in the way of your child’s well-being.  Parents or guardians can often take it very hard when a child needs help that is beyond what they can handle at home.  But you must keep in mind that professionals are trained to deal with these kinds of difficulties while parents are not.  There are; however, a number of things that you can do to help when you child is depressed.

Remember that depression is a disease.

Say this to yourself so that you can really remember it.  It is important to remember that depression is a disease so that you can stop blaming yourself for the suffering of your child and so that you can remember that you child is indeed suffering.  He or she does not know what to do about all of these difficulties that he or she is having.  Explaining depression as an illness might be easier for your child to understand.

Let your child know that he or she is going to be okay.

Kids do not always understand sickness.  They just know that how they are feeling is not okay.  Encourage your child to let you know how he or she is feeling.  Children often hide things from their parents.  They do not want to talk about anything difficult, and they do not want to say anything that is going to hurt you or get them in trouble.  Be sure that your child knows that you want to help, and you will need to know what is going on and how he or she is feeling if you are going to be able to help.

Talk to your child.

Any parent or guardian who has ever asked a child how his or her day was and gotten a one word response will know that this is as difficult as almost anything else especially when dealing with a particularly taciturn child.  He or she will need a safe space to be able to talk about the feelings that are coming up.  You may need to provide an opportunity that is free from distractions and free from stress so that your child can open up about his or her feelings.

Encourage your child in therapy and be an advocate for healing.

Do the research before choosing treatment options for your child.  You will need to be able to be supportive in the treatment options that are offered to your child, and if you do not believe in them, you will not be able to convince your child to believe in them.  You are also going to need to take charge of the treatment your child receives.  You may have to be tough to make sure that your child takes his or her medication or attends the appropriate therapy sessions.  Make it clear that you do these things because you want your child to feel better.

Be patient.

Nothing can be healed overnight.  It will take some time for your family to heal and for your child to heal.  Be patient and keep your spirits up.  Things will get better for you and for your child.  If you feel like you need more help, seek therapy for yourself or for the other members of your family.

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