Your child has been referred by their Doctor or Nurse Practitioner to be part of the depression treatment pathway shown below:
Your Doctor or NP refers your child to NewPath for further evaluation.
(a medication trial may be considered)
You will be contacted by NewPath to book your child’s appointments for group or individual sessions.
Your child will access services at NewPath.
A follow-up with your Doctor or NP will be scheduled after six sessions to assess progress.
(alternative options may be considered)
Treatment continues with NewPath and your Doctor or NP until your child is ready to self manage.
Your child will be discharged from NewPath and will continue to work with your Doctor or NP.
Your child will use everything they have learned to self-manage their depression.
What is depression?
It is normal for children to feel sad from time to time. But this sadness doesn’t stop them from going on with their everyday activities. And it goes away on its own. Depression, on the other hand, is a sadness so severe that it interferes with everyday life.
Typical symptoms of depression are:
- Feeling sad, worried, irritable or angry
- Lack of enjoyment in life, or trouble enjoying anything
- Feeling hopeless and worthless.
- Having trouble coping with everyday activities at home, school, or work
- Problems with sleep, energy, appetite and concentration
With severe depression, a person may even hear voices, or have thoughts of harming themselves or others. Depression is more than normal sadness. A depressed person can’t ‘just snap out of it’. Studies even show actual, physical changes in a person’s brain when they have a clinical depression.
What causes depression?
Depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. It can be triggered by stressful events, like losing a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, moving to a new school, bullying, abuse, or an illness. Depression can run in families.
Depression is a serious illness. It is not your child’s fault if he or she is depressed.
How is depression treated?
Depression can be treated with counselling, medicines called antidepressants, or both. If you are worried that your child may have depression, the first step is to take your child to the doctor.
Talk therapy is often used to treat depression. It is a type of counselling that focuses on conversations between the patient and the counsellor.
Antidepressants work by balancing the normal chemicals in the brain. They are not addictive or habit-forming. Antidepressants have not been shown to increase the risk of suicide. However, a few children and young adults will think about suicide more often than others and may hurt themselves. It is always important to be on the lookout for any suicidal thoughts or behaviours in depressed children. If your child is suicidal take them to the emergency room immediately for assessment. Click here for further information about medication.
How to help your child who is experiencing depression ?
- Let your child know that you notice there is something wrong. “I’m noticing that you seem a bit different these days”
- Express your concern. “I’m worried about you.”
- Offer support. “Is there anything I can do to help?” “How can I support you?”
- Make sure you still have regular times when you simply have fun, relaxing times with your child.
- Ensure that your child is physically healthy by getting good nutrition, sleep and exercise
- Parents and caregivers need to remember to take care of themselves too! Make sure that you still set aside time to take care of your own personal needs.
When will my child get better?
Each child and situation are different. Many children feel better three or four weeks after starting an antidepressant, with even more improvement after six to eight weeks. Talk therapy usually makes children feel better within three to six months.
Things to avoid doing?
- Avoid blaming or making your child feel guilty for his/her depression. This simply does not help, and just adds to the stress, making your child feel even more overwhelmed. Worse, it makes your child less willing to talk with you.
- Don’t expect your child to just “snap out of it”, any more than we’d expect someone to snap out of having asthma, diabetes or other conditions.
- Avoid getting caught into power struggles with a child or youth. Give your child a sense of control by giving him/her choices whenever possible. For example, you may insist that your child needs to see a counsellor, but within that, you might give them a choice over which day s/he sees the counsellor, or choice over which counsellor s/he sees, etc.
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Healthy living makes a difference – Be Well!
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10 Hours Of Sleep
Aim for 10 hours of restful sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep it affects our bodies, minds, emotions and behaviours. Such as: hyperactivity, easily hurt feelings, difficulty focusing and potentially long-term health effects.
2 Hours Or Less of TV/Screen Time
When we are plugged in too much for our down time we aren’t making time for all the other great things around us like; playing, biking, walking, gardening. Families can: Take a break. Turn it off. Unplug & Play. Throughout the day.