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Symptoms of Depression in Children

British Columbia Specific Information

Emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health are available from Mental Health Support offered by the Crisis Lines Association of British Columbia by calling 310-6789. You may also visit BC Mental Health & Addiction Services or HereToHelp for additional resources and services. Children and teens can also call the Kids Help Phone to speak to a counsellor at 1-800-668-6868 or visit Kids Help Phone for information on the resources and support available.

Suicide assessment and intervention are available from Crisis Lines across British Columbia by calling the Crisis Line Association of British Columbia at 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE). For more places to get help, visit Crisis Centre – Get Help. If you are in an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Topic Overview

Children who are depressed may have the same symptoms as adults. But adults may believe that these symptoms are normal in children. Some signs that may alert adults that children are depressed include:

  • Being irritable and crying for no reason you can see.
  • Avoiding friends and social events. Having depression makes it difficult for children to make and keep friendships.
  • Doing poorly in school or refusing to go to school.
  • Paying little attention to how they look.
  • Having behaviour problems such as temper tantrums, becoming sexually active, or using alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Not getting along well with parents. Children who are depressed may avoid hugs and other signs of affection from their parents.
  • Physical complaints such as headache or stomach ache with no cause you can see.

Credits

Current as of:
September 23, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
David A. Axelson MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
David A. Brent MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry