How to spot if a child is depressed: The 5 signs to look out for

Virgin Radio

28 Jan 2021, 08:51

Everyone is in a mind muddle at the moment to say the least, but it's important to keep any eye on the little ones to make sure their mental health isn't suffering.

Experts have flagged that lockdown is having an impact on children’s wellbeing and minds, written in The Times today.

Andrew Bush, a professor of paediatric respirology, Claire Hogg, a consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine and Ian Balfour Lynn, a specialist in child respiratory medicine have said: “As in the first lockdown, we are witnessing an acute and rapid increase in mental health and safeguarding cases affecting children and parents alike.

“Anxiety, depression and self-harm are all at frightening levels. Parents are showing signs of psychological stress and even breakdown as a result of the pressures of trying to home-school their children and sustain their jobs and businesses.”

So it's well worth keeping a look out for tell-tale signs - in all of us - and if so, getting some help.

Here are the 5 things to look out for:

Sadness If they are expressing a sadness or low mood that isn't going away.

Being irritable If your child has become or is getting annoyed at small things then try and ask them how they are feeling.

Feeling tired This is usually because they are struggling to sleep and have strayed from their usual pattern. Try and help them into a routine and set sleep goals.Not being interested in things they used to enjoy If they are behaving withdrawn and not doing things they enjoy then this could be a sign that they are depressed.Putting themselves down Is your child belittling themselves often?

This could be about their looks, behaviour or their school work.


Other key signs in kids may include:

Not being able to concentrate

Interacting less with friends and family

Being indecisive. Not having much confidence

Eating less than usual or overeat

Having big changes in weight

Unable to relax or are more lethargic than usual

Talking about feeling guilty or worthless

Feeling empty or unable to feel emotions (numb)

Having thoughts about suicide or self-harming

Actually self-harming, for example, cutting their skin or taking an overdose