Children and young people experience a range of emotional difficulties, often brought on by the challenges and changes they face. These range from puberty, to adjustment to transition and change and social and identity issues. Unsurprisingly, this makes it difficult for parents and carers to identify what might be a developmental issue from the start of a mood disorder.
Recent NHS statistics place mood disorders in young people as being present in around one in 8, 5-16 year olds, with this figure rising to one in 5 in 17-19 year olds. The WHO in 2020 further announced that depression was the most common disability in the world, impacting on one in 4 adults.
Learning to identify an emerging depressive disorder in a young person includes knowing what persistent changes in thoughts, behaviours, emotions and physical changes a young person might show. Some of these symptoms are listed in my write up for the stem4 depression page for parents and carers
A word of caution however, since depression is shown in very variable ways in young people so an assessment and diagnosis from a mental health clinician in adolescent disorders is very valuable. Your GP should be your first port of call if you have any concerns. First line treatment is usually an adolescent form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and for those young people showing behavioural symptoms such as withdrawal, apathy and lack of motivation, an evidence-based approach called Behavioural Activation Therapy. You can set some behavioural activation goals using my app Move Mood available on the App Store or on Google Play for 12 year olds, plus
I will be offering a webinar later this year on Managing Low Mood and Depression in the family
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