Children of any age can become deeply upset by events in their life. Whether their symptoms last only a short time or for many months, the child may need help in coping with their sadness. Please see us if you believe your child may be depressed. Symptoms of depression vary by age.

Symptoms of depression in infants may include:

  • Unresponsive, withdrawn when spoken to or touched.
  • Unmotivated to play.
  • Restless and unhappy much of the time.
  • Oversensitive to noise, touch.
  • Eating poorly, failing to gain weight (in the absence of other medical problems).
  • Experiencing unusual, restless sleep patterns.

Symptoms of depression children and teens may include:

  • Persistently unhappy, cry frequently.
  • Moody, irritable.
  • Negative, whining, complaining much of the day.
  • Chronically bored, withdrawn.
  • Constantly worried, afraid.
  • Overly self-critical, defeating of themselves.
  • Frequently disobedient, angry.
  • Inattentive, forgetful.
  • Unable to make decisions.
  • Slow in speech, body movements, thoughts.
  • Eating poorly, less frequently.
  • Experiencing unusual, restless sleep patterns.
  • Excessively fatigued.
  • Losing, gaining weight.
  • Uninterested in favorite hobbies, friends.
  • Slipping grades or interest in school.
  • Preoccupied with death, violent themes in books, music, drawings.
  • Complaining of chronic pain (headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches).
  • Inflicting self-harm.
  • Having suicidal thoughts, attempts.

Mental health for children

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More kids are struggling with depression

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60% among adolescents ages 14-17, and 47% among those ages 12-13. The number of children and teenagers who were seen in emergency rooms with suicidal thoughts or having attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2015.