Depression and Low Mood (Primary School)
I'm worried my child might be depressed
Realising your child is unhappy is upsetting for parents but we've summarised some of the best support available both for you and for your child here. Of course most children feel down some of the time. True depression is when such feelings last a long time and are starting to get in the way of everyday life. It may happen because of circumstances (such as bullying, bereavement, or abuse) but it can also happen for no obvious reason. Depression is much less common in primary school age children than anxiety, so if you’re worried, definitely discuss your concerns with your GP. At this age it would be highly unusual to be prescribed any medication and the most common treatment would be support and counselling. Have a look at the resources under Anxiety as well as there is a strong overlap between the two conditions.
Signs your child may be depressed This page discusses common signs of depression in children, some tips on talking to children about mood and when to see your GP.
- Childline Written for children: explains what depression is and what you can do about it. Would be a good page to read together with a parent.
- Kooth offers online counselling and resources for children and young people .They can log in on a computer or smartphone and chat to a counsellor in the afternoons and evenings. There are also blogs and articles. Probably suitable from about 10+ years but could be looked at together with a parent if younger. Good for those that either don’t want or can’t afford face to face counselling. Free but you need to create a log in for confidentiality.
- Sometimes I feel Sad by Tim Alexander. For children aged 5+ , especially useful for younger children who struggle to express how they are feeling.
- The Princess and the Fog by Lloyd Jones. A picture book story for children aged 4-9 with low mood. It is best read by parents with their child and encourages your child to talk about their feelings. There is a good section for parents at the back of the book.
- Blueloon by Julia Cook. An illustrated simply written book for 5-11 year olds. It illustrates how a child may feel hopeless about the situation and what others can do to help. It also contains a section for parents to read alone about how to help.
- Headspace Guided meditations suitable for all levels and ages.. Free initially but costs a small amount for the children’s version or the more advanced version. Very popular, appealing graphics.
- Stop, Breathe & Think Kids Can help children mellow out before bed, develop positive relationships or simply have a peaceful moment. Can help children to identify and process their emotions. From counting breaths to frog jumps, each activity is linked fun rewards to keep them engaged. Free.
- Positive Penguins: The four positive Penguins take you on an interactive journey to help you understand that feelings arise from your thinking and if you challenge your negative thoughts successfully you may be able to see things in a more realistic and even optimistic way. Small cost.