8 ways for teens, kids to cope with depression

Even if it’s not uncommon for teens and kids to feel sad sometimes, those moments can still feel overwhelming.

The good news is there is a lot you can do to help bust these bummers. Next time you’re feeling down, try some of these tips:

  1. Speak up: Find a trusted friend or adult and tell them what’s on your mind. Staying silent never helps.
  2. Know you aren’t alone. At some point in their lives, at least half of your classmates will feel symptoms of depression. That means there’s a good chance that at least two other kids in your class are feeling the same way as you do right now.
  3. Keep up with friends and fun activities. It might not sound fun, but try to hang out with friends, play sports and join activities. Pushing yourself to stay connected helps.
  4. Do something that makes you feel proud. Even small accomplishments can be mood-boosting. Do your homework, clean your room or help a sibling. Then, notice what a good job you did and feel proud of your awesome work.
  5. Talk back to your sadness. Imagine a friend told you they were sad or had a problem. Think about what you’d say to them – and then say that to your own feelings.
  6. Tell a loved one about scary thoughts and feelings. If you notice yourself thinking a lot about death or dying, talk to a trusted grown-up. They can help.
  7. Don’t skimp on sleep. Being unrested can make it easier to be sad or feel down. About an hour before bedtime, turn off your phone and TV, and try to focus on relaxing.
  8. Reach out for help. Besides your parents, a lot of grown-ups can help you with these feelings. Psychologists, social workers or counselors can help you understand and manage your feelings. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text CONNECT to 741741 for support. Call 911 immediately if you want to hurt yourself.

Stay Informed about Mental Health

CHOC Children’s has made the commitment to take a leadership role in meeting the need for more mental health services in Orange County. Sign up today to keep informed about this important initiative and to receive tips and education from mental health experts.
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9 ways parents can help kids cope with depression

Watching a child grapple with sadness can be distressing for
parents. The good news is adults don’t need to feel powerless. Here are nine
things parents can do to help their child cope:

  1. Show your love.

Love, empathy and respect can go a long way. Let your child
know you care and think their feelings are important. You can do this simply by
being present with them and offering reassurance.

2. Stick to a routine.

Use schedules and routines to create structure and security.
Depressed children might not want to participate in activities, but it’s
important for parents to maintain routines and schedules.

3. Focus on positive communication.

Be mindful of how many positive and negative comments you
make to your child. Your goal should be to offset every negative remark with
five positive comments.

4. Develop a positive environment.

A positive, loving atmosphere can help children relax. Build
upon that by making a list of fun activities you can do together – and then be
sure to follow through.

5. Take care of yourself.

To take care of others, you also need to take care of
yourself. Find a support group, exercise or hire a babysitter so you can make
time for yourself.

6. Find treatment for your child.

Therapy or counseling and medication could help a depressed
child. A pediatrician can help you decide what is best for your family.

7. Get help.

If your child expresses thoughts about wanting to kill or
hurt themselves or others, call 911 or bring your child to the nearest
emergency department. These feelings and thoughts can be serious.

8. Reassure your child.

Let your child know you are going to help them to feel
better, and that therapy, activity and, in some cases, medication can help.

9. Draw on outside expertise.

Many resources for parents exist. Here’s a quick list:

• “Depressed Child: A Parent’s
Guide for Rescuing Kids,” by Douglas A. Riley

• “Help Me, I’m Sad: Recognizing,
Treating and Preventing Childhood Depression and Adolescent Depression,” by
David G. Fassler and Lynne S Dumas

• “Lonely, Sad and Angry: How to
Help Your Unhappy Child,” by Barbara D. Ingersoll

• “Raising Depression-Free
Children: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention and Early Intervention,” by Kathleen
Panula Hockey

• “The Childhood Depression
Sourcebook,” by Jeffrey A. Miller

Stay Informed about Mental Health

CHOC Children’s has made the commitment to take a leadership role in meeting the need for more mental health services in Orange County. Sign up today to keep informed about this important initiative and to receive tips and education from mental health experts.

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