Help for a Child with Severe Depression
Severe depression is usually treated with a combination of psychotropic medications and psychotherapy. The first step in getting help for a child with severe depression is to consult your family doctor. Your physician can perform a physical examination to rule out any possible physical explanations for why your child is feeling the way they do.
Once physical causes are ruled out, your physician can refer you to a child psychiatrist to discuss additional treatment options, such as medication or therapy. It's important to see a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children, as they receive additional training in the identification of issues specific to children and methods of communicating with them. This is crucial, as children do not communicate their feelings of depression in the same way as adults.
Your child's school may have a social worker or a school counselor on staff. This is a beneficial resource for parents of a depressed child, as the counselor can help your child deal with any academic or social issues, such as skipping classes, academic decline, bullying or peer pressure.
Talking to your child's teacher can help identify any issues that occur specifically in the classroom. Additionally, informing your child's teacher about the depression can help them make changes to the way they interact with your child. For example, the teacher may be able to provide extra help if your son or daughter is experiencing academic issues.
Getting help for yourself or other members of the family may also be useful, as depression in one person affects the entire family. If your child has siblings, it may be helpful to talk with them about depression so they are better able to provide support and understanding.
Support groups for children suffering from depression can be another option, but only if your child expresses interest in participating in such a group. Many community hospitals and mental health clinics offer such support groups.