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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Parents can’t tell mood changes from signs of depression in kids, reveals survey

It is normal for kids to feel sad or have mood swings. But if they are sad or uninterested in things they previously enjoyed or if they feel hopeless for long periods of time, parents should check for depression.

By: Parenting Desk | Published: November 18, 2019 4:11:55 pm
child mental health Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, according to WHO.

Mental health problems among children is rising. It is therefore important for parents to identify the symptoms and help their child cope with the problem.

Parents, however, are finding it difficult to recognise depression in their children since they are not able to differentiate it from usual mood swings, according to a survey.

Among parents living with kids up to 18 years of age in US who were surveyed, 40 per cent said that they find it hard to tell normal changes in mood from signs of mental illness. Around 30 per cent of them said children were good with hiding their feelings.

About 14 per cent of the parents surveyed said that their kids did not talk much about their feelings while seven per cent of parents could not spend enough time with them. About four per cent of the parents were not sure what the signs of mental illness were.

About 42 per cent parents said they were confident, 48 per cent said they were somewhat confident that they would pick signs of depression in their kids.

As far as schools were concerned, seven in 10 suggested that students should be examined for the condition. About 29 per cent said institutions should should test all students for depression.

It is normal for kids to feel sad or have mood swings. But if they are sad or uninterested in things they previously enjoyed or feel hopeless for long periods of time, parents should check for depression, according to US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Extreme depression can lead a child to think about suicide or plan for suicide. For youth ages 10 to 24 years, suicide is among the leading causes of death,” CDC mentions.

Why mental health issues are increasing in children

“Parents may find comfort in knowing that other parents find this topic to be challenging. Awareness of the signs of depression is certainly helpful, but does not guarantee a parent’s ability to recognise when their child may be struggling with possible depression. This is because youth can hide behind ‘typical teen behaviour,’ making it hard for parents to differentiate the behaviours that are signs of depression,” Sarah Clark, co-director of CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, University of Michigan, was quoted as saying.

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