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What can I do as a mother to help my depressed son or daughter?

We don’t know for sure how many children in the UK suffer from serious depression. Experts believe it could be between 4-6% but considerably higher in teenagers.

It's often very difficult for a mother to cope with a depressed son or daughter because of all the emotions involved - did I cause this, does my child hate me, why is she shutting me out? However, it's vitally important to do all you can to help because never before will your child have needed you as much as she does now.

Don't underestimate the problem
It’s all too easy to dismiss depression in children as nothing to worry about and assume that they’ll "just grow out of it". But in most cases, a depressed child is far more serious than a depressed adult because adults have a much greater capacity to help themselves. A child really has to rely on her parents to come to her aid and help to resolve her problems.

Try to identify the reasons
There is almost always an underlying reason or a specific trigger that has caused you child to become depressed. It’s vitally important to try to establish this reason to allow you to address the problem effectively.

Remind them that you are always there
A depressed child can feel terribly alone even if she’s surrounded by a loving family. As a parent, you must always reassure your son or daughter that you're there to help at all times. Even if your child shuts you out, you must continue to offer support and reassurance.

Don't blame yourself
A depressed child is very rarely the fault of the parents. Yes, mum and dad can be one of the factors that trigger a child’s depression but it’s important to remember that depression is an illness. A divorce or an unhappy home cannot cause an illness. Blaming yourself for your child’s depression is neither justified or helpful.

Keep communicating
Communication is crucial to help your child deal with depression and hopefully overcome the illness. You must always encourage them to let you know how they feel and make sure you give them the time to talk to you.

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