Depressive Disorders in Children

Peter Brown

Children with depressive disorders feel sad, lack interest in activities they previously enjoyed, criticise themselves, and are pessimistic or hopeless about the future.

Thinking that life is not worth living, they may contemplate suicide. They may be indecisive, and have problems concentrating. They tend to lack energy and to have problems sleeping.

Major Depressive Disorder is a serious condition characterised by one or more major episodes of depression. A major depressive episode occurs when a child experiences symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two consecutive weeks.

Children with Dysthymic Disorder have less severe symptoms, but their symptoms last for at least a year.

Where to start to get help:

  • Start with your family GP or a clinical psychologist who specialises in child mental health issues
  • Look up your nearest CYMHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Service) in the government section of the White Pages

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