Health & Fitness The hidden signs of depression in children every parent needs to know about

10:00  10 october  2017
10:00  10 october  2017 Source:   Mamamia

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getty © Provided by Mamamia getty Primary aged children can suffer depression yet many parents struggle to spot the signs of a mental health problem in their children, a national poll has found.

Research released from The Royal Children's Hospital’s Child Health Poll found only a third (35 per cent) of more than 2000 parents surveyed were ‘confident’ in recognising the signs of a mental health problem in their child.

A further third of parents believed a child’s mental health problems might be best left alone to work themselves out over time; and less than half (44 per cent) felt confident they would know where to get help if their child experienced social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

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Director of the RCH Poll, paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, says children can develop many of the same mental health difficulties as adults but they often manifest in different ways, making them harder to recognise.

Frequent tearfulness and crying is not normal in children and seeking professional help sooner rather the later is really important, Dr Rhodes says.

Ongoing physical complaints can also be a sign of social or emotional problems in children and teenagers.

“Even if parents are unsure, there is no harm in having a conversation with their GP or school counsellor about any emotional, social or behavioural difficulties they think their child may be experiencing,” Dr Rhodes added.

“Ignoring signs that may indicate a child is in need of help can result in the problem becoming more entrenched and much harder to treat.”

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So as parents it’s important to be able to recognize changes in our children ’s mental health and to know when our children need help.¹. It will help you recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in your child and what you can do to act on your concerns.


* Sadness a lot of the time

* Ongoing worries or fears

* Obsessions or compulsive habits that interfere with everyday life

* Ongoing problems getting along with other children or fitting in at school, kinder or child care

* Aggressive or consistently disobedient behaviour, such as frequent yelling, kicking, hitting, biting or damaging things around them

* Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches or tummy aches

* Sleep problems, including nightmares.


* Having trouble coping with everyday activities

* Seeming down, feeling things are hopeless, being frequently tearful or lacking motivation

* Having trouble eating or sleeping

* Difficulties with attention, memory or concentration, a drop in school performance, or suddenly refusing to go to school

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Signs of depression in children : · Sleep may become disturbed: Poor sleep may include waking early in the morning, having difficulty getting to sleep or waking up repeatedly. Parents may not be able to come up with the answers but at least they can begin to think about what they need to know .

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* Avoiding friends or withdrawing from social contact

* Complaints of frequent physical pain, such as headache, tummy ache or backache

* Being aggressive or antisocial, for example, missing school, getting into trouble with the police, fighting or stealing

* Losing weight or being very anxious about weight or physical appearance

* Repeated use of drugs or alcohol

* Self-harming behaviours.

Related: 15 Foods That Boost Happiness and Fight Depression (provided by The Active Times)

15 Foods That Boost Happiness and Fight Depression: <p>Your diet has a tremendous effect on <a href=your overall health and wellbeing; especially now during the winter months, when the winter blues is hovering and the likelihood for depression is on the rise.

What do you do when you’re stressed out and feeling down? Do you raid your refrigerator and snack on everything in sight? If so, don’t be embarrassed, you’re not alone. According to research by Harvard Health Publications, stress causes the adrenal glands to release cortisol – a hormone that increases appetite and may ramp up the motivation to eat.

Prevent yourself from eating unhealthy foods like potato chips and sweets by stocking your fridge with healthy foods that help boost happiness and fight depression.

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