Signs of Childhood Depression

Portrait of sad child closeup


It’s a shunned topic when occurring with adults, it’s unheard of to talk about depression in children. In the US, approximately 2-8% of children are depressed, and that rate is on the rise, nearly 13% since 1995. (according to a Medical Journal study at Stanford University)

Depression is more than the occasional blues, it’s a lack of ability to be or feel happiness. While the causes of depression are hotly debated, no one can argue the symptoms and how they can interfere with a family’s life. It’s important to know what to be on the look out for, and when it crosses from a normal hormonal change to a serious condition.

1. Sudden loss of Interest

Every kid has something they are really into, either books or a superhero; drawing or a sport. A sudden and abrupt end to that interest should be a cause of concern. Though by itself, it’s not necessarily a sign of depression, but could be a red flag of being bullied, a learning disorder and more.

2. Changes in Sleep, Eating & Behavior

These are the most obvious and commonly known symptoms of depression. You should consult with your doctor if you see your child sleeping extreme amounts, eating a lot more, or a lot less, and sluggish behaviors. Again, alone this symptom could just be regular teenage habits, but anything to the extremes should be monitored.

3. Grades Declining

Depression causes apathy, which usually ends up with sharp nosedives in grades of older children. It can lead to  vicious cycle where lower grades increase a depressed child’s feeling of worthlessness, which leads to even more apathy and still lower grades.

4. Social Withdrawal

A parent should take notice if their children’s friends stop visiting, or if their child stops asking to go out, attend parties or playing with friends. Again, depression’s apathy can extend into the social realm, and make it difficult for children to find joy in their relationships.

If you think your child may be depressed, please visit your doctor and consult with school counselors. Growing Up in the Valley is providing this list for informational purposes, and strongly suggest visiting your medical practitioner if you are concerned about depression.

If you think you are depressed yourself, please call the 24-hour hotline 1-800-273-8255

Tracy Fisher

Tracy Fisher is Growing Up in the Valley's head designer. She has been a part of the publication since March 2012. She is the proud mother of Charlotte, 6. She also eats too much chocolate.
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