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It may be difficult for adults to understand that a child or teen could suffer from serious depression. Children's problems may seem manageable compared to the challenges adults face.
Like adults, children experience sadness, grief, disappointment and loneliness. Because of their immaturity and inexperience, children aren't able to see how things can work out. They can't see any options, and despair can set in.
Mental health professionals disagree on the exact causes of depression. It can be triggered by an experience such as a loss of a relative or friend, or by intense family conflict or a chemical imbalance. The changing seasons can affect depression as well. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most often at the beginning of winter. Most experts believe that, in addition to external factors, a family history of depression makes some people more vulnerable than others.
Children and teenagers go through many difficult periods as they develop. Emotions such as sadness, loneliness, self-contempt and disillusionment are natural, to a certain extent, at the various developmental stages. Because suicide is final, our advice is to err on the side of overreacting if you fear a problem.
Severe depression can be cured. While it is one of the most debilitating illnesses, it is also one of the most treatable. Please seek help if you suspect a problem. Remember that two of the best ways to reduce the risk of suicide are to build healthy family relationships and have open communication.
If you are concerned or worried that suicide is a possibility, call a mental health professional for an assessment. Bradley Hospital is especially well qualified, with experts in children's mental and emotional health.
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