Depression in children

Today Rebecca, mum of 2 girls, asks about your experiences of depression within children.

I’m worried about my youngest girl who is 6. She takes a bit of a beating verbally from her elder sister who constantly knocks her and the things she does. At 9, I think she’s going through a developmental stage of competitiveness; at least her classmates seem similar.

Unfortunately I think my youngest is also going through a typical developmental stage of becoming aware of what those around her think of her. And this is really affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. She has none at all.

Amplified by oldest’s constant calls of “You’re silly”, “That’s not how you do it” and “No, do it A Problem SharedTHIS way”, youngest’s feelings of self-worth have disappeared and she now feels unable to do anything for fear of getting it wrong, or not meeting other’s expectations.

At home we model ‘failure’ and overcoming it. We talk about how well they both combat challenges. But still, youngest always seems so blue and my gut instinct is that she’s depressed.

Does anyone have experience of depression within children? I’ve spoken to the school liaison officer but not sure where else to turn other than the GP….he’s next on my list.

3 thoughts on “Depression in children

  1. Anne

    My daughter has just been diagnosed with depression at 15. She is very avoidant so it has taken a long time to recognise it, even the ddp psychologist working for her for over 2 years hadn’t seen it. We took her to a psychiatrist and paid for a private consultation (£150) and he diagnosed it in an hour.
    She has always had very low self esteem, she was the carer for her siblings and always believed that we only adopted her because we wanted them. Always put her way down to her past and adjusting to new family, she was 7 when she came. Wonder now if it should have been identified earlier. I’d see your GP if it is someone you can trust to listen to you.

  2. MMG

    Mindfullness is now something that can be prescribed by the NHS for depression. There are lots of mindfullness things for children. Could be a useful route to research.
    Best of luck

  3. Gem

    Might feelings cards be a helpful way of encouraging your daughter to talk about how she’s feeling? Also some assertiveness mirroring with statements like “when (elder sibling) says I’m silly it makes me feel (emotion) and then I want to (action)” You could show her how to express things and link the emotion to how she then behaves I,e, going to her room and feeling sad or feeling angry but not saying it. Depression is often triggered by internalising emotions and girls are often so busy trying to fit in that they don’t want to express anger so internalise it. You could try lots of wondering. “I wonder how you’re feeling when your sister says….” Also now the weather is improving lots of walks in nature might help her low mood to lift a bit.

    Obviously all this in conjunction to a visit to your GP. Good luck.

    Just a note….. Depression is also often a symptom of ADHD in girls xxx


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