Getting Help for Depression
Simply knowing the warning signs of kids’ depression and suicide is only the first step. What’s really important is that you take action and get help if you believe that your child is exhibiting the signs of teen depression. In addition to this, it’s important to know where to seek help if it’s needed.
- Act early. Any parent who has lost a depressed child to suicide or gone through the pain of a child’s attempted suicide will tell you that it is better to step in too early, as soon as you see signs of teen depression, rather than hope things get better on their own. If your child is clinically depressed, time will not make the condition better—it will only prolong the pain of your kid’s depression and possibly put your child at risk.
- Be patient. Experts now agree that the best treatment for depression is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The challenge, however, is that there are many types of medications and psychotherapeutic methods available for depressed children. It often takes a while to find the best medication, the correct dose, and the most effective psychotherapy method for treatment. Be patient, but continue to monitor progress to ensure that your kid’s depression is not getting worse.
- Be vigilant. Depression is a serious condition. Ensure that your child doesn’t hurt himself. Continue to monitor your child as he receives treatment, as he may exhibit more signs of teen depression.
- Understand treatment resources. There are many online resources that can help you recognize the signs of kids’ depression and suicide. See the Summary and Next Steps page for links to some of these resources. If you think your child needs treatment for depression, see your family physician right away. Your doctor may recommend a psychologist or another specialist, and may prescribe antidepressants for your child. If you need advice immediately, call a help line, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
As a parent, you are one of the first people that will be able to recognize the signs of your kids’ depression. And if you do begin to see symptoms, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to get your child the treatment she needs to deal with her depression.
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Strengths to Make It Through: How Families Can Grow Together Through Everyday Challenges . . . and Big Stuff, presented by Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development at Search Institute
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