Childhood Depression and What You Can Do to Help

Two years ago, I wrote an article about depression and entrepreneurship. Looking back, nothing much has changed. Every now and then, I still get bouts of depression because of the challenges I face. But somehow it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in this struggle.

Depression is a leading cause of ill health and disability in many countries all over the world. It is the most common mental health problem worldwide, with an estimated 300 million people suffering from it. Without the proper assistance, depression can lead to more complications, and ultimately death by suicide. In fact, suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds around the world in 2015.

We Filipinos rarely talk about mental health and depression. Often, we brush it aside as just a ‘phase’ or a ‘feeling’. But in recent studies, approximately 3.3 Million Filipinos suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders. And only one in three cases usually asks for professional help.

But what’s most alarming is, depression in children seem to be increasing in number too. Children as young ten and twelve years old have been noted to die by suicide.

Unlike depression in adults, it can be difficult to spot in children and teenagers. So here are some telltale signs that your child is suffering from depression according to Psychology Today:

  • Frequent vague, nonspecific physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or tiredness
  • Frequent absence from school or poor performance in school
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
  • Outbursts of shouting, complaining, unexplained irritability, or crying
  • Being bored
  • Lack of interest in playing with friends
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Social isolation, poor communication
  • Fear of death
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Reckless behavior
  • Difficulty with relationships

There are many factors that may cause depression. Research shows that it might likely result from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Some types of depression run in families. Trauma, loss of a loved one, difficult relationships and other stressful situations can also trigger depressive episodes. And other depressive episodes can also happen without any outside factors triggering it.

But the good thing is, depression is a treatable disorder even in the most extreme cases.And getting the right treatment starts with seeing the right doctor. The earlier the treatment can begin, the better and more effective it will be. It can also prevent the episodes from recurring.

Awareness is crucial in providing help and support for both the child and the family. And acknowledging the illness also demystifies and removes the stigma around it.

It’s also vital to surround yourself with the right support groups to help you through the darkest times.

To help alleviate the cases of depression in the country, Globe Telecoms created Hopeline 2919, a 24/7 toll-free suicide prevention hotline in 2012.

The goal is to assist and support callers in crisis due to depression or suicide issues. It also provides support for callers who are not necessarily in immediate crisis but may need help to prevent it from occurring or escalating.

In its first year alone, Hopeline 2919 has received 14,000 calls relating to depression, suicidal thoughts, and relationship problems.

It’s awesome that Globe has Hopeline 2919, a campaign that hopes to remove the stigma that surrounds depression. Through the helpline, Globe Telecom continues to support the Department of Health’s goal in promoting mental health awareness in the Philippines.

As parents, we have a huge responsibility and opportunity to ensure our children’s emotional state. That’s why we need to watch out for telltale signs of depression before it gets worse.

With that said, I’d like to ask for your help in sharing this post on social media to help spread the awareness about mental health and depression. Share it with moms, dads, and anyone who needs help.

Because all lives matter.

#SeeYouTomorrow #HOPELINE2919