It's never easy to realize that your child needs help, especially when the help they need is emotional or psychological in nature. You know what to do when your child has a cold or flu. You call the doctor, and they take care of it. But, what do you do when your child needs help that a bandage or antibiotic can't fix? According to statistics, about 2 to 3 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 12, suffer from depression, and about 2.8 million adolescents suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2014 alone. If your child is suffering from depression, you need to get help for them. If you're not sure they're at a stage where professional intervention is necessary, here are four signs that its time:
They're a Danger to Themselves
If your child's depression is creating a situation where they're a danger to themselves, it's time to get help. Signs that your child is a danger to themselves could involve self-harm such as cutting or self-mutilation, or it could be verbal warnings, such as saying that they wish they were dead. It could also be in the words they're writing in their journals, or in notes to others. If you're concerned that your child is in danger of harming themselves, or has already begun doing so, you need to reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible.
They're Affecting the Entire Family
If your child's depressive episodes are beginning to affect the entire family, you may have reached a stage where outside help is necessary. This is particularly true if their behavior is affecting younger siblings. If you're spending all of your time dealing with depressive episodes, and your younger children are suffering, you need help with the situation.
They're Not Interested in Fun Activities
If your child no longer enjoys participating in activities that they once enjoyed, including school activities, or time spent with friends, they may be crying out for help. It's time to have your child's condition evaluated by someone who's qualified to determine the proper course of action.
They're Beyond the Help You Can Provide
If your child has reached a point where you can no longer provide them with the help they need, it's time to turn their care over to a professional psychologist, or psychiatrist. With proper treatment, your child can resume enjoying a healthy, happy childhood. If you recognize any of the signs described here, you should reach out to a mental health professional near you.