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Parents may notice that their child is sometimes sad or blue. Sadness is part of living. It helps us understand our inner world and gives meaning to events.

Depression is treatable. Early identification, diagnosis and treatment will help the child reach full potential.

Children or adolescents may have a problem, however, if they are frequently sad and it begins to interfere with a child’s ability to function in daily life. Depression is not a weakness or character flaw and you cannot just “snap out of it”.

Depression is treatable. Early identification, diagnosis and treatment will help the child or adolescent reach full potential. Any child, youth or adult who abuses substances should also be evaluated for depression.

Dysthymia is a mood disorder that falls within the depression spectrum. It is considered a chronic depression, but with less severity than a major depression. This disorder tends to be a chronic, long-lasting illness.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Sad mood or cries a lot and it doesn’t go away
  • Don’t feel like doing a lot of things they used to
  • Loss of self-esteem, feeling useless, hopeless, excessively guilty
  • Life seems meaningless
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Slowed thinking, forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Lethargy, low energy
  • Sleep pattern changes; sleeping more or having trouble falling asleep
  • Frequent physical complaints such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Agitation
  • Changes in appetite or weight – eating too little or too much
  • Suicidal thoughts or talk of death or self-destructive behaviour

A combination of these symptoms for more than two weeks should be discussed with a mental health professional or doctor.

Useful links or resources for DEPRESSION:
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO) - or 1-888-486-8236 Local 519-570-4595
See also “The Facts of Teen Depression” sheet at
Children’s Mental Health Ontario - or 1-888-234-7054
Depression Hurts -
Canadian Mental Health Association -
Families for Depression Awareness -
BC Partners For Mental Health & Addiction Information -