What Do I Do If My Child Appears To Be Depressed?

Dr. Nadine Kaslow answers the question: 'What Do I Do If My Child Is Depressed?'

ByNadine Kaslow, Ph.d., Professor Of Psychiatry, Emory University School Of Medicine
February 27, 2008, 6:20 PM

— -- Question: What do I do if my child appears to be depressed?

Answer: When your child is depressed, and you're concerned about that, the first thing that you ought to do is sit down and have a conversation with your child or have a series of discussions with your child.

You want to ask him or her how she or he is feeling, what they're thinking, if they've noticed any change in their behavior in terms of with peers, with schools, with their activity.

In addition, you may want to share with you're child how you see how they're doing, what you're observing, what you're noticing. Let them know that you love them, and that you care about them, and you want to be sure that they're feeling okay about themselves. Talk with them about what might be stressing them out, what might be causing their depression.

Then, I think it's also important to talk to your child about how you need to get them professional help if it appears after the conversations that they are indeed depressed. And so I encourage you to go with your child to the mental health professional.

The whole family actually may want to go with the child to provide support, encouragement, maybe even a family meeting, and to give your perspective on what's going on with the child. You want to be sure that the child's getting appropriate attention, and that may be counseling, or medication, or the combination of the two.

Next: What Do I Do If My Depressed Child Or Adolescent Resists Being Evaluated And Diagnosed?

Previous: What Is The Relationship Between Depression And Substance Abuse In Children/Adolescents?

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