How can I get help for my depressed child?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Your child's doctor may be able to recommend a mental health provider who can work with your child. Also consider speaking with your child's teacher or guidance counselor. They may be able to help you find the right help for your child.
If symptoms of depression persist for two weeks or longer, consider talking about them with your family doctor. If he or she recommends a therapist, try to find one with plenty of experience with children your child's age. The stages of child development vary drastically, and someone specializing in treating adolescents may not use strategies appropriate for younger children. Ask friends and others for a recommendation and remember that the right therapist for your child's personality may take time to find. It is time well spent.
The first step to helping your depressed child is to have her examined by a doctor. A physical exam can rule out any physical problems that may be causing depression symptoms. Your child's doctor may also be able to recommend a child psychiatrist who can evaluate your child for depression. If your child is diagnosed with depression, treatment options can be discussed. Those include psychotherapy, medication, or both.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.