CARING FOR KIDS IN CRISIS Children and Depression
White Wing Messenger|August 2021
Depression is a common and serious medical illness. It is real, it happens, and it is treatable. Society has put a stigma on mental illness, and as the salt and light of the world we must put an end to that stigma.
DR. SHAUN MCKINLEY

It is normal for children to feel sad, irritated, and have bad mood swings, but when those negative feelings linger it is possible that the child is struggling with depression.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) outlines the following criterion to make a diagnosis of depression:

The individual must experience 5 or more symptoms during the same 2-week period: feeling sad or irritable, loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities, decrease in weight, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, fatigue, or loss of energy, decreased ability to think, concentrate, and make choices, recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicidal ideation, and feelings of worthlessness or excessive, inappropriate guilt.¹

On occasion this condition goes undiagnosed and untreated because the symptoms are passed off as normal emotional changes. However, as noted in the criterion for the diagnosis, not only do we need the symptoms to be present, but for 5 or more to be present during the same time period. On occasion, the child can present a few of the symptoms, but not all together or during the 2-week period. This is why it can be confusing to recognize when help is needed.

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