Leave Website Skip to main content

Depression in children and young people - information and advice for parents and carers | Community Directory

Depression in children and young people - information and advice for parents and carers

Tell us what you think about this section of the website by clicking on the feedback tab to the right of your screen.

What is the difference between low mood and depression in children and young people?

Low mood may come and go, whereas depression is when a child or young person is  struggling with feelings of sadness over a long period of time that won't go away.

The NHS Choices website has some useful guidance that compares the symptoms of a child who is in a low mood, with a child who has depression.
Go to their advice page called 'What's the difference between low mood and depression in children?'

Spotting the signs of depression in children and young people

This NHS Choices 'depression in children and teenagers' page has helpful information on how to spot if your child/young person is depressed. 

It can be hard for a parent or carer to know if something is wrong or if it is just a phase of childhood or adolescent behaviour that their child is going through.

You may find the symptoms of depression might be more obvious to spot in young people rather than children.

Young people tend to have more awareness of their mental health and will confide in a friend or trusted adult.

However, primary school-aged children are less likely to know what depression is and ask for help as their emotional maturity is not as well developed as young people.

"Change of appetite, sleep disturbances, sadness, agitation, anxiety, loss of interest, are some common signs that your child may be depressed."

Place2Be website - has useful guidance on how you can start supporting your child’s mental health. 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists - has practical advice for parents and carers on helping your child to cope with depression. 

Helping to educate your child or young person about depression can help them to talk to you about their feelings.
This can make it easier for you to recognise when your child is emotionally unwell and in need of support.

I think my child is depressed, what should I do?

This video workshop titled, 'Supporting Our Young People with Low Mood - Parent Workshop', is delivered by Dr Tamara Scully and Dr Beth Mosley (Clinical Psychologists) to help parents to better understand why our young people are more vulnerable to low mood once they reach adolescence, the warning signs of when to seek extra help and some evidence-based strategies to best support your young person.

If you think your child or young person is depressed, and could do with some professional support, you can:

Who can I speak to for advice?

Talking to your child/young person about their thoughts and feelings

The NHS Choices website has an advice page on how to start a conversation with your child. Visit: NHS Website -Talking to children about their feelings page

The MindEd-for families website has a resourceful section for parent/carers about things to think about when talking to your child or teenager. Visit: www.MindEd Website - Tallking to My Child page

Resources to support children/young people's emotional wellbeing

Useful websites:

The Childline website - has a good section full of good information and advice about depression aimed at children. Visit: Childline website - depression and feeling sad page

The Source website  - is a local website for young people in Suffolk that covers various emotional wellbeing topics, including depression. Visit: The Source website - Depression advice page 

YoungMinds Charity - has a leaflet for parents and carers titled 'Depression and your child'. 

YoungMinds also have a 'Parents Lounge' with lots of 20 minute activity ideas, conversation starters and resources to make talking to your teen easier. Visit: YoungMinds Website Parents Lounge

The Royal College of Psychiatrists website - has a list of recommended mental health books for adults, children and teenagers that address a whole range of health and wellbeing issues. Visit: Royal College of Pschiatrists Website - Mental health books section 


The Boy, The Mole and The horse, by Charlie Mackesy - This is a wonderfully heart-warming book which provides thoughful, positive life lessons through the animal characters. Charlie is a Suffolk based illustrator whose art is known around the world.

Suffolk Libraries - has a list of self-help books suitable for young people and parent/carers available to request. Visit: www.suffolklibraries.co.uk  

Suffolk Parent Hub - has various book recommendations to help parent/carers support children with all sorts of issues. Visit: Suffolk Count Council Website - Parent Hub

Wellbeing Apps:

For helpful Apps that can provide some in-hand support to a young person struggling with an emotional wellbeing issue, please see our list of recommended wellbeing Apps approved by young people on The Source website. Visit:The Source - 'if the App fits' page 

Find local support groups and organisations who can help?

To search for emotional wellbeing support groups in your area see our list: Local support groups and organisations for depression

(you can filter the list for what you need).