What does depression in children and young people look like?

    Young people or children presenting with the following could be feeling depressed: Lack of interest in things that they were interested in before; lack of ability to enjoy things; withdrawing themselves; feeling tearful or irritable; lack of concentration; changes in sleep pattern; changes in appetite; having many negative thoughts or feelings about themselves; sense of worthlessness; sense of hopelessness and sometimes strong guilt feelings and at times, feelings that life is not worth living.

    Young people often suffer in silence and do not tell anyone that they are feeling depressed. Young people often try and hide their feelings and may work very hard at looking happy. It is a myth that children and young people cannot get depressed. They can get very depressed and it often goes unnoticed by everyone close to them for as long as several years.

    Sometimes young people describe severe mood swings in that they feel talkative, energetic, full of ideas and on top of the world for a short while, followed by a deep depression and despair. Periods of heightened irritability can also be experienced. Mood swings such as this may need to be assessed further to explore whether someone may have an underlying bipolar disorder.

    What does depression in in young adults look like?

    The symptoms are very similar to what has been described above.

    What are the triggers?

    Many things can trigger depressed feelings in young people or children, these are just a few examples:

    • Bullying
    • Loss of someone you loved
    • Family conflict
    • Difficulties in friendships or relationships
    • Abuse
    • School pressure
    • Feeling like a failure
    • Worrying about the way you look
    • Feeling different from your peer group
    • Feeling isolated or lonely

    What can you do when you feel like that?

    First of all, you are not alone. You are not a freak or mad. You are a brave young person who have been coping with many difficult feelings and we are proud of you. It is important to realise that your feelings are important and you deserve to be taken seriously. Talk to someone you trust or ask for help. We provide treatment for depression.

    Advice for parents: When you think your child is depressed:

    3 Don’t’s:

    • Don’t panic
    • Don’t tell them to snap out of it
    • Don’t ignore it

    3 Do’s:

    • Listen & understand
    • Empathise
    • Provide safety & security

    It is also advisable to get professional help. The earlier we can intervene the better.

    What is the treatment?

    If your depression is mild, then cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is indicated and usually 10 – 12 sessions will be enough. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is also indicated, especially if you have been affected by interpersonal difficulties. If your depression is more severe, then it may be helpful to consider combining the CBT or IPT with some medication. The medication for depression that we recommend is safe, not addictive and very effective. After you’ve had your assessment session, we will talk with you about the treatment options and you will be able to ask questions to help you make the right treatment decision for you.

    What can Stepping Stones offer?

    • We offer all the interventions in our clinic.
    • The cost of psychological therapies is £150 and usually offered in blocks of 6
    • The cost of group therapies is £60 per group
    • The cost of psychiatric treatment and review is £180 per 30 minute session