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Depression In Children A Guide For Parents And Caregivers

Depression has become a buzzword for modern times. In the present age, an alarming number of people go through psychological disorders. Depression may be prevalent and more widely discussed today, but it is not a recent problem.

Even in the days gone by, people went through several mental health issues. Today, many children also report psychological health issues. Since kids cannot take care of themselves, diagnosing depression in children can be disheartening for the whole family. 

Parents and caregivers of children bear the responsibility of looking after children’s all kinds of needs. When their children go through health issues, responsibility increases for parents and caregivers to be more alert.

After discovering that the child is going through depression, the initial phase is a shock. Parents often take time to come to terms with this reality. The sooner they accept it, the better it will be for their children’s health. Parents and caregivers are generally determined to help their children.

However, they often find themselves in a dilemma as they are unaware of how they can help their kids. Getting prompt and appropriate treatment for the child can result in remarkable improvement. 

Below we are listing some points to give an insight into how parents and caregivers can assist their children in dealing with depression:

  • Seek Professional Assistance:

Parents’ first step should be to consult a professional psychologist for their children. These professionals hold a bachelors in psychology and have an in-depth insight into the field.

Some psychologists are experts in child psychology and can deal with children’s matters better than other psychologists. These psychologists prescribe treatments that need parents’ and caregivers’ full support depending on children’s conditions.

  • Psychotherapy:

In some cases., psychotherapy can be effective in treating children’s depression. Often, it is referred to as ‘talk therapy,’ but there is much more to it.

Traditional psychotherapy includes different formats, such as talk therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Psychologists try to identify the cause behind children’s depression and suggest treatment accordingly.

Sometimes psychologists apply different psychological approaches. Acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mentalization-based therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and play therapy are some approaches for children. 

  • Authorized Antidepressants:

People may find that many techniques for treating children’s depression are the same as applied for adults. Still, they must keep in mind that children are more vulnerable and sensitive. Children psychologists apply techniques specific to children and use medication that is appropriate for them.

In severe cases of depression, psychologists prescribe the use of antidepressants to give relief from anxiety. Antidepressants affect people’s mental and physical health. Parents and caregivers must research that prescribed antidepressants do not harm their children.

Aside from the approved antidepressants, parents must also take care of proper doses and timings.

  • Medication:

Many people do not know much about depression and its treatment, but they have heard about it. Not all the information is correct, and common knowledge regarding mental health problems can be inaccurate.

A prevalent misconception is that people taking medication for psychological issues get into other health problems. The truth is psychologists understand better and prescribe after considering the pros and cons of it.

Medication for depression is mainly dependent on children’s mental condition and causes of depression. Most psychologists prefer treating mild cases of depression through counseling and family support.

In comparison, for bipolar and MDD, major depressive disorder, they opt for medication. Sometimes professionals may prescribe a combination of psychiatrist approaches. 

  • Provide them with Emotional Support:

Every child needs emotional support, but children with depression need an abundance of it. Parents and caregivers must ensure that they are there when their children need them and support them emotionally.

Instead of making children suppress their emotions, they must have the freedom to express themselves. If children want to cry loudly, parents and caregivers should let them let their feelings out. As long as children’s reaction is not harming others or themselves, parents must support children in expressing their emotions. 

  • Give a Healthy Lifestyle:

Depression is a mental health-related issue, but parents and caregivers must realize that physical and mental health are interrelated. Their children cannot have robust mental health if they fail in providing them with a healthy lifestyle.

Parents must modify their lifestyles and incorporate healthy habits into their day-to-day life. Switching to healthy food and avoiding fried and processed food have a remarkable impact on psychological health.

Moreover, they must also establish a routine and see that their children do not stay up till late at night and have a reasonable amount of screen exposure. Small bits of change can go a long way and build better mental health. 

  • Exercise Patience:

Dealing with children is not a piece of cake, and handling children with depression can be highly challenging. These children may not speak when parents ask them questions or may not participate in regular tasks.

Sometimes they fail to perform the basic activities, such as brushing teeth, combing hair, or eating food. Since parents and caregivers have many other responsibilities, they may feel overwhelmed at times. Still, exercising patience is the key as children with depression tends to get back in their shells.

When children are showing outbursts, parents or caregivers may have an urge to react violently. They must realize that their reaction may have a destructive impact on children. 

  • Communicate Openly: 

The most important aspect of dealing with children with depression is to let them communicate openly. Parents may have an urge to shield their children from harsh realities, but it may backfire. Parents should try to show a complete picture but keep children’s hopes alive.

They should be straightforward with them and incorporate some element of optimism. Children with depression may take time to open up, but parents should be patient with them. They must work to give children confidence and practice open communication with them. 


The stigma about mental health problems is slowly diminishing, and there is still a lot to do. Medical experts and media raise awareness that addressing psychological issues is nothing to be embarrassed about; it is crucial for holistic development.

In modern times, many children deal with depression and require professional assistance. Parents and caregivers of children play a critical role in shaping kids’ mental health. They can help address their psychological issues.

Parents must analyze their children’s behaviors and immediately seek psychological experts’ assistance if they see something off.  Letting children express themselves without fear and showing them the glass half full helps build better mental health.

Robust mental health is crucial for better physical health, and parents must actively engage in improving their children’s psychological wellbeing.


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