It is quite normal for children and young people to have periods of low mood related to stresses which may be happening or have happened in their lives, including normal life changes.
Depression may run in families, especially if parents have experienced depression or other mental health issues, or there may be no family history.
- not enjoy their usual activities or relationships
- seeing less of their friends
- feeling tearful, irritable or tired most of the time
- changes in appetite
- problems with sleep, concentration and memory
- feeling awful about them self and life
- feeling guilty and worthless
- lack confidence and reduced self esteem
- complaints of aches and pains
- angry outbursts
Sometimes people with depression;
- may think that life is not worth living
- may think about harming or harm themselves
- may act in response to thoughts about harming themselves
- hear and see things that are not there
- feel anxious
A child or young person with depressive symptoms can have problems in how they think, feel and behave. This may cause difficulties at home, school and with relationships. Some young people can struggle with other behaviours that can be risky and this can lead, for example, to dropping out of school. Early help from CAMHS or other agencies is recommended to reduce these problems.
How can you help?
When your child becomes irritable or does something risky, keep calm and seek help. It is important to encourage them to talk to you or someone they trust;
- encourage them to do a range of activities they enjoy
- a healthy diet, physical exercise and sleep can improve their mood
- encourage them to take care of themselves
Treatment and recovery
Talking therapies are used to help develop effective coping habits and problem solving skills. The range of therapies, for example cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy, will be discussed and the most suitable will be agreed with you and your child.
Medication may be offered if talking therapies are not enough.
Issues more common in teenagers
If you are concerned about drugs, alcohol, risk taking, sexual behaviour or smoking, please let us know so that we can be offer the right services to help recovery.
Consent and confidentiality
If your child is over the age of sixteen we may see them on their own. Children younger than 16, who want to see someone on their own, may do so.
We would keep these meetings confidential unless they affect the safety of your child or other people.
Remember – your family is not alone.
Depressive symptoms are a common problem and can be overcome.
L740, v4, 15/09/2022 (Archive: 14/09/2025)