FAQs About Sadness, Mental Health, And A Depression Treatment Program For Youth

Is it normal for your child to feel sad more than just once in a while? You've noticed a definite mood change in your child or teen. But you're not sure what it means or what you can do to help. Take a look at what parents need to know about childhood/adolescent mental health and the depression treatment program for youth options.

Are Sadness and Depression the Same Thing?

Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone experiences periodically. Your child may feel sad when they argue with a friend, after they fail a test at school, or if they don't make the travel soccer team. But this doesn't mean that they're depressed. 

Unlike normal sadness or sad feelings, depression is a chronic condition that comes with more serious or severe symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of major depression last for two or more weeks and interfere with normal daily activities. Along with persistent sadness, common symptoms of depression include feeling hopeless, loss of interest in hobbies and activities, changes in appetite, mysterious aches or pains that have no known cause, changes in sleeping patterns, inability to concentrate, or fatigue.

Children and teens may also have noticeable changes in school or social habits. Your former A student may suddenly have a semester slump or show no interest in school. Likewise, your typically social child may shy away from their friends or say they don't want to spend time around others. Older children, tweens, and teens may engage in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or drug use. 

What Should You Do If You Think Your Child Is Depressed?

Have you noticed some of these symptoms? Does your child's sadness seem more than just a normal bad day or bad mood? If you have concerns about your child's or teen's emotional and mental health, it's time to consult a professional. 

Depression is a treatable disease. But it's not a mental illness that a parent can diagnose. Even though you may have spotted some of the symptoms, you still need the help of a mental health professional (such as a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist). This type of specialist can talk to your child, evaluate their symptoms, diagnose depression, and recommend a treatment plan. 

What Is A Depression Treatment Program for Kids?

This type of program focuses on helping children and teens to overcome the symptoms of depression and manage the disease in healthy ways. Programs use different methods, depending on the severity of the depression, the child's age, and the child's individual needs. These approaches could include group therapy, individual therapy, medications, or a combination of therapy and medication.

For more information on a depression treatment program for youth, contact a professional near you.