Depression

Depression is a common yet serious mood disorder that involves a persistence of deep sadness, hopelessness, and numbness. Someone experiencing depression may feel a constant melancholy that prevents them from enjoying their everyday life. Children and young people especially can feel alone and misunderstood which often stops them from expressing how they feel to people close to them. This isolation can lead to suicidal feelings, self-harm and, in a worst-case scenario, suicide.

Parents and teachers are often the first to identify the symptoms of depression in children. Some key symptoms of depression include excessive and persistent worry, moodiness, over or undereating, and self-harm. Some symptoms manifest in physical ways that are a little easier to spot as a teacher during school time such as frequent aches and pains, not wanting to play, either complete isolation or clinginess, and uncharacteristic irritability and anger.

There are many risk factors at school that can lead a child to develop depression. As a teacher, you should be on the lookout for children experiencing bullying, social isolation, a lack of self-confidence, and an inability to keep up with schoolwork, among other factors. Children particularly vulnerable to depression are ones who experience abuse, a death in the family, moving home, and ones who witness drug and alcohol abuse.

Depression is commonly viewed as a condition affecting mostly teenagers; however, it is important to not overlook the development of depression in younger children. It is important to talk to pupils who you suspect may have depression, show them you care, and are there to support them, without pushing them to talk.

Children with depression often have trouble sleeping and are unable to concentrate, which will affect their schoolwork. Rather than reprimanding them, talk with them and see how you can help. Allow plenty of time for even the smallest tasks so as not to rush them and make their self-esteem plummet further.

If symptoms and the uncharacteristic behaviours persist for over two to four weeks, dependent on the child’s home situation, contact their parents, the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), or the school nurse.

To learn more, watch our educational video on tips for teachers with students with depressive symptoms and how to recognise symptoms of depression.

Watch our Films

Depression in Children Information Film

A child with depression can experience problems not just with how they feel, but also how they behave. Depression in children is treatable, but often young people are not recognised as being depressed so they don’t get the right help. This film explains how to identify and help a child showing the symptoms of depression.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Depressive Symptoms: Tips For Teachers

This 4 minute film gives Tips for Teachers who have a child in their class suffering with depressive symptoms.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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Depression and Me: Real Life Child Mental Health Experiences

Please note – some images and content may be upsetting or disturbing. This film is not intended to be watched by children.

This short film features real life accounts of Depression experienced by young people. Through their words we see the importance of early intervention by parents and teachers.

A child with depression can experience problems not just with how they feel, but also how they behave. Depression in children is treatable, but often young people are not recognised as being depressed so they don’t get the right help.

Nip in the Bud strongly believes that early intervention and support for children ensures far better outcomes.

Read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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How to Recognise Symptoms of Depression

Find out more about Depression in Children, read and download our fact sheets, watch more videos or sign up for our mailing list and free interactive guide.

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