Depression Occasionally being sad or feeling hopeless is a part of every child’s life. However, some children feel sad or uninterested in things that they used to enjoy, or feel helpless or hopeless in situations they are able to change. When children feel persistent sadness and hopelessness, they may be diagnosed with depression. Examples of behaviors often seen in children with depression include

 Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable a lot of the time

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 Not wanting to do or enjoy doing fun things

 Showing changes in eating patterns – eating a lot more or a lot less than usual

 Showing changes in sleep patterns – sleeping a lot more or a lot less than normal

 Showing changes in energy – being tired and sluggish or tense and restless a lot of the time

 Having a hard time paying attention

 Feeling worthless, useless, or guilty

 Showing self-injury and self-destructive behavior


Extreme depression can lead a child to think about suicide or plan for suicide. While less common in early childhood, for youth ages 10-24 years, suicide is among the leading causes of death. Some children may not talk about their helpless and hopeless thoughts, and may not appear sad. Depression might also cause a child to make trouble or act unmotivated, causing others not to notice that the child is depressed or to incorrectly label the child as a trouble- maker or lazy.