postheadericon How to Help a Depressed Child

Seeing your child seriously depressed can be scary and frustrating. However, your child needs a lot of love and support from you to help him or her get better. Here are some simple steps to help your child and you.

How to Help a Depressed Child

1 Get Help. Depression is a real illness that can be treated medically as well as with therapy. If you are a parent or family member, everyone needs help in overcoming these problems.

How to Help a Depressed Child

2 Acknowledge that your child is suffering, then offer comfort. For example, say “I know you feel really terrible right now. I want you to know I love you, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help you get well.”

How to Help a Depressed Child

3 Help your child organize tasks into small, manageable pieces. For example, have your child do math homework one problem at a time to help them feel less overwhelmed.

How to Help a Depressed Child

4 Reduce decisions. Don’t ask your child to make any decisions unless absolutely necessary. If they do need to make a decision, help them narrow down choices.

How to Help a Depressed Child

5 Listen to your child.

How to Help a Depressed Child

6 Get Playtime. When children play, stress is reduced, and a child can help work through whatever he or she is going through. Although a depressed child may have trouble playing, persist in offering play activities, group play, and so on.

How to Help a Depressed Child

7 Plan relaxing, low-effort activities, such as watching a favorite movie together.

How to Help a Depressed Child

8 Offer Healthy Food. Even if your child doesn’t want to eat, he or she needs to. Good nutrition will help counteract some of the effects of depression.

How to Help a Depressed Child

9 Your Child is More than His or Her Depression. Your child is more than his or her depression; remember there’s a beautiful, perfect child that no one can deny.

How to Help a Depressed Child

10 Recognise when your child needs professional help and seek it for him or her. Even if they resist it, insist that they go — especially if they are harming themselves or expressing thoughts of suicide. If they are harming themselves, then they are not thinking clearly, and they need YOU to be in charge more than ever. As they begin to recover, they will realise that you had them hospitalised or forced them into therapy out of love, and they will appreciate it.

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