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Depression & Children

Most children feel sad and low every once in a while, but these feelings usually pass in a few days. Untreated depression, however, lasts for a long time and interferes with day-to-day activity.

Children who are depressed may complain of feeling sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent or caregiver, or worry excessively that a parent may die. Older children may sulk, get into trouble, be negative or grouchy, or feel misunderstood. Youth are more likely to respond to treatment if they receive it early in the course of their illness.

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What to Watch For
  • Anger, irritability & agitation are typical

  • Deep feelings of sadness and hopelessness

  • Anxiety and fearfulness

  • Physical complaints: headaches, stomachaches

  • Withdrawl from family & friends

  • Loss of interest/pleasure in activities

  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection & failure

  • Low self-esteem, guilt, feel worthless

  • Trouble concentrating & making decisions

  • Loss of energy/increased fatigue

  • Insomnia or oversleeping

  • Changes in appetite & weight (up or down)

When to Worry

All parents might see any of these symptoms in their children on occasion. It is time to seek professional help when:

  • Multiple symptoms appear

  • Over a long period of time

  • Symptoms are interfering with the child’s ability to function: refusal to go to school, personal hygiene, grades, lack of friends, troubled relationships, running away, self injury, substance abuse

  • Child talks about wanting to die and has thoughts of suicide

24 hour crisis lines are available to help in a mental health crisis, answer questions and concerns, and to schedule appointments with a mental health professional.
Call 330.296.3555 for Coleman or 330.678.4357 for Townhall II.

Facts about Suicide in Adolescents

Suicide is complicated and involves the interplay of multiple risk factors. It is not simply the result of stress or difficult life circumstances. Many people who die by suicide have a mental health condition. In teens, the behavioral health conditions most closely linked to suicide risk are major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, eating disorders, and substance abuse problems. Although in some cases these conditions may be precipitated by environmental stressors, they can also occur as a result of changes in brain chemistry, even in
the absence of an identifiable or obvious “trigger.” Other key risk factors for suicide include the following:

  • Personality characteristics, such as hopelessness, low self-esteem, impulsivity, risk-taking, and poor problem solving or coping skills

  • Family characteristics, such as family history of suicidal behavior or mental health problems, death of a close family member, and problems in the parent-child relationship

  • Childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

  • Stressful life circumstances, such as physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse; breaking up of a romantic relationship; school problems; bullying by peers; trouble with the law; and suicide of a peer

  • Access to lethal means, especially in the home

It is important to remember that the vast majority of teens who experience even very stressful life events do not become suicidal. But in some cases, such experiences can be a catalyst for suicidal behavior in teens who are already struggling with depression or other mental health problems. In others, traumatic experiences (such as prolonged bullying) can precipitate depression, anxiety, abuse of alcohol or drugs, or another mental health condition, which can increase suicide risk. Conversely, existing mental health conditions may also lead to stressful life experiences, which
may then exacerbate the underlying illness and in turn increase suicide risk.

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