What to Do When Your Child is Diagnosed with Depression

Knowing how to help a child who suffers from depression or any form of mental illness can be a difficult task, particularly if you’ve never suffered from any kind of mental health issues yourself. Even though you’ll be entering into unfamiliar territory, trust that your parental instincts will help you to know how to guide and love them. If your child is diagnosed with depression, here are some things you can do to help them. 

Provide Emotional Support

When your child is struggling with depression, the first and most important thing that you should do is provide emotional support. They have clearly shown a lot of trust in you to admit their struggle with depression and to seek help. Now it is important that you provide the emotional support that they need. How you do so should be personalized according to your child’s personality, needs, and communication patterns. Maybe providing emotional support for one child means lots of hugs and cuddle time while providing emotional support for another child could mean talking through stressors and issues. The less generalized and the more personalized your support is, the more successful it will be. 

Seek Treatment

A lot of people avoid getting a diagnosis for their mental health issues because they are afraid of the treatments they will receive. While it is true that many treatments can lead to side effects such as weight gain and mood swings, medications are improving and getting more developed every day. There are now lots of options for medicating depression. For example, TMS can treat depression without the side effects of medication. If you’re trying to figure out what medication would be right for your child, make sure to consult a doctor and therapist to find a personalized solution that will help their needs. 

Work on Your Communication

Lastly, it is important to be very aware and careful of the way that you communicate with anyone that deals with depression. Saying things like, “you control your attitude,” “put a smile on your face,” or “choose to be happy” will not help your child. In fact, this mentality could make them feel even more alienated from others as they won’t understand why they can’t shift their emotional state as easily as you say. Instead, if you notice that your child is having a difficult day, try to emphasize how much you love them and ask how you can help them. Focus on what they are doing great, and inquire to know if you can make a difference in their day. As you work on your communication, you’ll be better equipped to help your child. 

Even though it can be difficult to know how to help your child as they’re fighting depression, have faith in the process. Take the time and put in the necessary work to really make a difference in your child’s life. You never know, you could be the person that helps them to make a significant turn in recovering their mental health.

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