Childhood depression is a real and serious issue. In 2021, about 15% of younger Americans aged 12-17 had at least one major depressive episode.
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that children can’t get depressed. Parents may feel guilty as they may not even realize their child is depressed after it’s too late.
Fortunately, there is a treatment for depression, so getting specialist help starts as soon as possible. To prevent childhood depression, you must begin by learning about the risk factors for depression in minors.
Here are the risk factors for childhood depression that parents should know about.
Children who experience chronic stress are more likely to develop depression, and the more severe the stress, the greater the risk. Children with a parent or close family member with depression are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Childhood trauma also contributes to stress, which can cause depression in children.
If depression runs in your family, your child is more likely to experience it as well. This is because depression can be passed down through genes. Additionally, if you or your partner have depression, it can negatively impact your child’s mental health. Your child may witness you struggling with depression and learn harmful coping mechanisms.
Abuse or Neglect
Unfortunately, too many children suffer from abuse or neglect, which can lead to depression. Children who experience abuse or neglect have difficulty trusting people and may feel like they are always on guard. It can make it difficult for them to form healthy attachments and lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If a child has a lot of exposure to abuse or neglect, it can increase the stress hormone cortisol. It can interfere with brain development and increase the risk of depression. If you suspect a child in your life is suffering from abuse or neglect, it is crucial to get help.
It can be difficult for children, as they may feel neglected or rejected by the other parent. Additionally, they may feel overwhelmed by the changes in their family dynamic. It is essential to be supportive and understanding, as children may feel insecure and vulnerable.
Chronic illness can also impact a child’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. It can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety in children.
In addition, children with chronic illnesses often cannot participate in activities their peers enjoy. It can further contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Bullying can have a significant impact on a child’s mental health and can lead to depression. Bullied children are more likely to experience anxiety, low self-esteem, and sleep problems. They may also have difficulty concentrating and may avoid school.
Child bullying is an important topic that should be discussed with the victims and bullies. People should know about the effects of bullying on children’s mental health and why they should act upon it as soon as possible.
Get Professional Help in Dealing with Childhood Depression
Parents should be aware of many risk factors for childhood depression. These include bullying, family conflict, the loss of a loved one, and more.
It’s important to talk to your children about these risks and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms. If you’re concerned that your child may have depression, contact a mental health professional for help.
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