Doctors diagnose depression with an evaluation in which they ask about your child’s moods and whether you have seen some of the signs of depression. They will ask how those symptoms have affected your child’s life such as at school, with friendships and at home. There are no tests (such as checklists, blood tests or brain imaging) that can diagnose depression at this time.
How do doctors treat depression?
There are many ways that doctors can treat depression in children. Finding the right treatment is often trial and error. Common types of treatment include therapy and different medications. Talk with the care to create a treatment plan for your child’s symptoms and needs.
How can I help my child at home?
There are many ways you can help your child with their depression at home:
Talk to your child about their feelings and things happening at home and at school. Remind your child that depression is not their fault.
Encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep, do things they enjoy and exercise. All these things can help boost your child’s mood.
If there are tasks adding stress to your child’s life, help them break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps. Talk to your child’s teachers at school to adjust the workload, if needed.
Help your child connect with family and friends at home and in school.
For safety reasons, if you are worried about your child’s mental health, remove any dangerous items from their reach. This includes guns, knives, long cables or medications. Lock these items up safely or ask your child’s care team on how to safely remove them from your home.
Do not worry alone as a family member. Tell your child’s doctor or school counselor about your concerns. Connect with families who are experiencing similar situations. You are not alone in helping your child with depression.