Children, teens: Coping with holiday blues

As for peers, Gesek said it's important to create a culture where kids feel comfortable approaching teachers, principals and counselors -- where it's not considered tattling to share your concerns about a friend.

Davis emphasized this concept as well.

"If peers are concerned about a child or classmate, they should tell a responsible adult what they have seen and/or heard that makes them concerned," Davis said. "Even if a child at risk asks you to keep their secret, please tell an adult. That's the only thing that will help them get better."

Symptoms of depression vary depending on age and may include:

School-aged children

Frequent and unexplainable physical complaints, such as stomachaches or headaches

Significant changes in weight

Expressions of sadness or hopelessness

Low self-esteem

Excessive worrying

Changes in sleep patterns


Unprovoked hostility or aggression

Refusal, reluctance in attending school

Lack of interest in playing with others

Poor communication

Thoughts about or efforts to run away

Morbid or suicidal thoughts


Drop in grades

School, home behavior problems

Anti-social or delinquent behavior

Feelings of sadness or hopelessness

Low self-esteem

Extreme sensitivity to rejection, failure

Social isolation

Listlessness or restlessness


Changes in sleep patterns

Loss of enjoyment in previously-enjoyed activities

Difficulty with relationships

Eating-related problems

Inattention to appearance

Self-destructive behavior

Morbid or suicidal thoughts or actions

Source: Mental Health Association in New York, mhanys.org

Symptoms commonly mistaken

One of the most common, yet unrecognized, conditions experienced during childhood and adolescence, depression is often mistaken as a motivation or behavior problem. According to the article, "Depression: Helping Students in the Classroom," author Thomas J. Huberty, PhD, NCSP of Indiana University cites that 8 to 10 percent of students experience depression serious enough to require intervention. In addition, adolescent girls are twice as likely to develop depression as are adolescent boys. However, there is no difference in frequency of depression between pre-adolescent girls and preadolescent boys. A teacher in a middle school or high school may have as many as three students in a class of 30 who have mild to serious depression, with most of them likely to be girls.

Source: nasponline.org

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