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Depression coping tips for kids and teens

We understand that in these very difficult times, children and teens can struggle with feelings of depression.

If you are a parent who is concerned about your child or one of their friends, here are tips for starting the conversation and tips for parenting a child who is depressed.

If you are a teen struggling with depression, here are tips for coping.:

Try not to bottle up your feelings

Seek out a trusted friend or adult, such as your parent, to talk to about your feelings and what is on your mind.

Understand that there is a name for what you are going through, and that you are not alone

At least half of your classmates will experience symptoms of depression at some point in their lives. There are other people who have felt the same way you do.

Keep up with friends and activities

Even if you do not want to do things, you should still try to do them. Push yourself to try to do fun things, even if you have to go through the motions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the activities you used to enjoy may not be safe in their typical form. Talk to your parent or guardian about activities you can have fun doing while still being safe.

Do something that makes you feel proud.

Do your homework, finish a chore (such as cleaning your room), and notice what a good job you did. Feel proud of your hard work.

Talk about your sadness

Sometimes when people feel sad, the things they think about are sad, too. If your best friend told you they were feeling really sad or had a problem, what would you say to them?

Talk about scary thoughts and feelings

Sometimes when kids feel upset, they think a lot about death or dying. If you notice yourself having scary thoughts such as, “I want to die,” tell a trusted adult, such as your parent or guardian.

Focus on getting enough sleep

We are more likely to get upset or feel down if we don’t get enough rest. Try to make the hour before you go to bed peaceful and relaxing. Try to stay away from your phone and the TV, since the light tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime.

If you are thinking about suicide or hurting yourself, please use one of these resources:

If you are in immediate crisis and/or danger, you can call the Orange County Behavioral Health Crisis Assessment Team (CAT) at 1-866-830-6011. They will come to where you are to do a safety evaluation. You can also call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department.

If you or your child is struggling, you can access these resources 24 hours a day:

  • California Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-843-5200
  • Suicide Prevention Center 1-800-784-2433
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
  • Crisis Text Line 741741
Learn more about mental health services at CHOC

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