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Depression in Children and What You Can Do To Help

By Mormon.org
girl standing before sunset

Is Your Child Depressed?

Depression is not a condition that affects only adults. It is estimated that between 2 to 5 percent of children in the United States under age 18 suffer from depression. So what’s the best approach for treating a child with depression? Thankfully, there are many things to try that can help promote resilience and growth.

Investigate

Talk to your child often with compassion, respect, and patience. It can be tempting to want to immediately “fix” the problem, but it’s more important to proceed with patience and love. Helping your child heal to the extent possible and coping with their depression takes an immense amount of patience.

Sometimes childhood depression and anxiety are the result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Children are dependent upon the adults in their lives to help them cope. If you are unable to discover the source causing your child’s anxiety or depression, or after discovering the source you are overwhelmed and unable to assist your child, seek professional help. There is help and always hope. Take your child’s hand and walk the path of healing together.

Treat the Whole

There are many parts that make up the whole of a human being. There is the body, the spirit, the mind, and the heart, also known as the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional. When a child is depressed it is important not to overlook any of these four elements that make up the whole of their person. The underlying causes of depression and the answers to healing may be found in one or all four parts. Do your best to nurture and encourage healing, improvement, and growth in all four areas.

Don’t Go It Alone

The Savior will support you and your child through this hardship. Go to Him in prayer to seek inspiration and guidance. He has promised, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). Comfort can also be found in the words “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:10). You are never forgotten in your trials, nor will you be left to deal with them alone. Seek the help of the Savior Jesus Christ.

If your child has expressed suicidal thoughts or behavior, discuss the situation with someone you trust and consider consulting with a mental health professional. As needed, you can get help immediately by clicking here.

Helpful Links

healthychildren.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

HELPGUIDE.org

EmpoweringParents

As children gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for their value as a child of God, this can serve as a source of strength as they deal with depression. The following is a hopeful video that follows two brothers from adolescence into their teen years.

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