When you’re a parent, few things are more harrowing than the discovery that your child has an illness—whether physical or mental. Depression is one example, and it’s increasingly common among kids. The question is, what can moms and dads do when they suspect their child struggles with this mental health disorder? Here’s some brief advice.

Know the Signs

The first step toward helping your child is simply knowing depression’s signs and symptoms. Here’s a quick checklist:
  • Issues with self-esteem
  • Withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Lethargy or general lack of motivation

Talk with a Professional

If you observe any of these symptoms and are concerned that your child is depressed, the next step is reaching out to a mental health specialist. Remember that depression is a real disorder, and calls for proper clinical care. If you don’t know where to begin seeking psychiatric care, first talk to your pediatrician.

Be There for Your Child

Something else you can do is simply provide emotional support. To do that:
  • Try to encourage candid conversations with your child
  • Spend time together doing things you both love
  • Listen to your child and affirm how he or she is feeling

Encourage Good Health

Finally, note that there is a clear connection between mental and physical health. To help a child struggling with depression, start by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits—including good nutrition, ample sleep, and regular exercise. Depression is a scary thing to face—especially when you’re a child. With the right clinical help and emotional support, however, the symptoms of depression can be controlled. Get the help your child needs—and with any questions, contact Seacliff Recovery.
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