Depression: A guide for parents and carers
Talking to your child about how they feel is a big step to take towards helping your child overcome feelings of depression.
An open conversation with your child may not always be possible, if their mood is so low that they are unable to function normally. If you are worried about any risk of suicide or self-harm, you should not hesitate to seek professional advice and support.
Try not to be rushed into finding a solution
Where possible, it’s best to try and find a way to resolve things together with your child. Coping with depression is not a ‘quick fix’ and it takes time. Alongside your child, you can seek advice from a number of trusted sources, including specialist helplines offering confidential support and a listening ear.
Seek professional help if needed
Professional help is available to young people experiencing difficult times. School nurses and university counsellors should be able to provide guidance, advice and signpost you towards other resources and support networks. Some may also be qualified therapists. A school nurse or psychologist can also make a mental health assessment and can sometimes refer people for expert help.
Make an appointment with your GP
Raising your concerns with your GP can be daunting, but it is essential to seek a medical opinion if you are concerned in any way about your child’s wellbeing. Take time to understand how best to plan your visit with your GP so that you and your child both feel comfortable and speak with the right medical professional for your circumstances.
Support your child
Keep speaking with your child. Keep reassuring your child and listening to what they have to say to you. Depression is a common problem and it can be helped if diagnosed and addressed early. By acting and seeking advice, there is a greater chance of these negative feelings and thought patterns being overcome for your child and not recurring in later life.
Try to keep family routines as normal as possible
“I just wanted friends and family to treat me normally”.
This is familiar feedback from young people experiencing depression. Try to keep family routines as normal as possible, maintaining ordinary everyday activities and planning small events and moments to look forward to and enjoy together. This provides positive distractions for your child. Other siblings and close friends may also need to know what is happening: normalise the situation by accepting it and supporting your child.
Parent's Guide to Depression related articles
Asking for help (young person)
A simple guide for young people to help talk about their feelings.View resource
Featuring useful facts, figures and information, this booklet also contains sources of help and what not to say to people experiencing depressionView resource
Guide to depression for parents and carers
This booklet aims to help recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their childView resource
Guide to depression for parents and carers (Welsh)
This booklet aims to help parents recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their childView resource
Life after lockdown Wellbeing Action Plan
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been through enormous change and some of us may experience further uncertainty and change in the coming weeks and monthsView resource
Low mood poster
Poster created in partnership with Bank Workers Charity highlighting common causes of low mood, how to help yourself feel better and information on where to get more help.View resource
Aiming high can sometimes come at a cost. This eight page guide looks at ‘unhealthy perfectionism’ – how to spot it and advice on how to develop effective interventions.View resource
Warning signs poster
A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.View resource
Wellbeing Action Plan (child)
A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult timesView resource
A simple, journal to help young people think about and write down the things which make them feel good.View resource
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