5 ways to help your kid beat depression

You can help your despondent kid feel better by showing him your love and support. We tell you how.

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Getting good grades may improve your child’s career prospects, but pressuring him to do his best all the time could be at the cost of his health and well-being.   

Touch Community Services manager Chong Ee Jay says stress from school and parents contributes to your child’s depression.

In several Singapore studies carried out to determine the prevalence of depression among primary school students show that some 12.5 per cent of school children have behavioural and emotional problems. Gleneagles Hospital psychiatrist Dr Lim Boon Leng points out that one to two per cent of these students suffer from depression.

“For genuine depression, the signs and symptoms last for at least two weeks and will cause significant dysfunction in the life of the teen.”

Chong adds that as a counsellor, he has seen a worrying increase in the number of Primary school pupils suffering from depression in the last five years. Often, parents tend to notice behavioural issues like bullying, insomnia, weight gain and poor grades rather than depression-related symptoms.

The symptoms of depression in kids are similar to an adult’s. Dr Lim shares signs to look out for:

-  An increase in temper tantrums.
-  Poor school performance.
-  Changes in weight and sleeping habits.
-  Complaints of headache, stomach ache and body aches.
-  Increased sensitivity to being rejected.
-  Mood swings and problems in conduct and behaviour.
-  School refusal and social withdrawal.
-  Having suicidal thoughts. 

While these symptoms aren’t any different from your average moody tween, Dr Lim says indications like a loss in energy and suicidal thoughts aren’t typical. “For genuine depression, the signs and symptoms last for at least two weeks and will cause significant dysfunction in the life of the teen.”

Read on to learn how you can help your gloomy child…