The link below is a really good resource to bookmark. You’ll learn a lot about childhood depression by reading it. This section, though, really hit me.
“Depression can cause changes in the brain. Untreated, these changes can have long lasting effects, including a greater chance of experiencing adult depression, as well as:
- poor school performance, potentially limiting access to higher education opportunities
- decreased social functioning
- increased levels of anxiety
- higher chance of substance misuse
- increased risk of suicide
If you suspect your child has depression, the more support you can get early on, the less likely depression will have long lasting effects.”
Read that last line again. So often, I’ve talked to adults dealing with depression or other mental health issues that went unrecognized in childhood or were explained away as a “phase” they would grow out of.
Getting kids help as early as possible gives them a much better chance to have less depression and fewer effects as adults. Imagine how many people might have been able to develop mentally healthy strategies instead of devolving into worse conditions if it was common for kids to have access to mental health resources?
Please, don’t ignore signs of depression and mental health struggles in kids. Yes, they can be resilient, but the research clearly shows that they aren’t as resilient as we think they are, and waiting to get access to help is doing more damage.
In this case, it is better to be safe. The worst thing that happens is a kid gets some time to talk to a therapist who determines that it’s not depression but something else. This is not a bad thing, even if the stigma surrounding it says it is.
Don’t let stigma prevent you from doing what is best for kids.