1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder this is around 3 children in every school class. 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health condition, which results in destructive behaviour. This can result in conduct disorder. The child will display aggression, theft, vandalism, for a diagnosis these behaviours would normally occur for at least 6 months.
Symptoms and behaviours associated with depression the child may display the following signs or symptoms:
- Crying, feeling sad, helpless or hopeless
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, bad temper.
- Irritable or easily annoyed.
- Repeated rejection by other children
- Drop in school performance inability to sit still or fidgeting.
- Repeated emotional out bursts
- Repeated physical complaints with medical cause.
- Change in sleep habits.
- Change in appetite
These are just some of the symptoms but there are also other conditions or behaviours which have been linked to childhood depression.
Anxiety or social Anxiety
Not wanting to go out in public. Social shyness can be perfectly normal but becomes problematic, if it develops into a social anxiety disorder. Long term anxiety can severely interfere with a child’s development and is more likely to develop into clinical depression.
DHD or Hyperkinetic disorder
- The child may become bored with a task after a few minutes, or be easily distracted and switch from one activity to another.
- Have difficulty organising and completing a task.
- Losing things e.g. pencils toys.
- Daydream or becoming easily confused
- Not seem to listen when spoken to.
- Talk nonstop
- Dash around touching everything in sight.
- Be very impatient
- Blurt out inappropriate comments show their emotions, without restraint and act without regard for consequences.
People with ADHD are more likely to have problems with social skills such as social interaction, and forming and maintaining friendships.
Although it causes significant impairment particularly in modern society, many children with ADHD have a good attention span for tasks they find interesting.
Sometimes depression in children is hard to diagnose because it is often mimicked by disorders such as ADHD. Some mental health professionals, suggest evaluating other disorders first
Phobias in children are common but it can become troublesome if it develops into an anxiety disorder. Phobia can be fear of dogs, fear of spiders.
Separation disorder Depressive symptoms are clearly associated with a child’s separation from those to whom he she is attached.
Dysthymia This is a less severe form of depression in which symptoms are less evident and may appear chronic and last more than two years.
Adjustment Disorder Depressive symptoms emerge as a reaction to an identifiable social stressor.
Serious and critical symptoms are suicide and self harm combined with strange behaviour.
Psychosocial models of depression, suggest that depression is a result of interacting with the environment family conflict and lack of family cohesion and expressiveness.
If you think your child displays any of these symptoms please take them to the GP in the first instance.
Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies. Her interests include beauty, makeup, animals politics, current affairs and social networking.