Sadly, children as young as 2 years are being treated for childhood depression according to child psychiatrists and developmental psychologists.
Children with the illness are being diagnosed more frequently.
According to Dr Joan Luby, Professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, toddlers are experiencing feelings of hopelessness and sadness akin to depression.
These symptoms, if left untreated, may lead to other mental health issues later in life.
What causes depression in children?
Children can suffer from depression-like symptoms after experiencing a negative or bad situation. They child can’t cope with what has happened emotionally and therefore develops feelings of hopelessness and sadness.
The bad situations don’t have to be that serious in our eyes either. They can, in fact, be something quite inconsequential.
For a child who is prone to depression, not having their feelings of sadness recognised can lead them to feel more disadvantaged and abandoned.
Many adults may not even realize what they are doing or saying has such a huge impact on the children in their lives.
What can we do as grandparents?
Talking openly and honestly about your concerns is always the best approach.
Teachers and parents see your grandchildren each and every day and they are best situated to see if there are any issues.
However, if you feel you are not being heard seek advice from your own doctor or mental health expert.
Thankfully diagnosed depression in children is rare and it best felt to err away from full on intervention.
Here are some tips?
If your grandchild brings up a topic with you that concerns them ask if they’ve spoken to their parents or teachers yet.
Don’t ask ‘why not’ if they haven’t.
Instead, tell your grandchild that it is okay to feel sad and it’s okay to always come to you.
You could also talk about what you do when you’re feeling sad and blue. These are important skills all children need to learn so they can manage their emotions.
Some skills are very simple and easy for a child to implement.
They might listen to music, dance, run outside, sit with their pet, draw a picture or read.
Providing children with the skills to manage their moods is important too.
If you would like to see a book created to help children manage their feelings check out Astro is Down in the Dumps