We all feel sad and down sometimes – and children are no different. Sometimes things don’t go our way, or we get hurt, or we lose a loved one.
Depression is more than sadness. Depression affects how people think, how they see themselves and the world. Children can feel sad or irritable, may think that nothing is worthwhile or that things will never get better.
For children and adolescents, symptoms of depression can include negative behaviour such as irritability or whining – it can be easy to feel annoyed and to blame or punish children for their behaviour – without recognising it may be related to low mood. Oppositional and defiant behaviour is sometimes, although not always, related to low mood.
The top issues of concern for young people in Australia are coping with stress, anxiety, school or study problems and body image. The statistics for mental health are serious. Around a quarter of children will be affected by a mental health condition, and it’s important that parents and carers take low mood seriously.