Children and adolescents can suffer from depression, impacting their functioning at school, home or community. Typical signs of depression in children or teens include irritability, inappropriate guilt, feelings of worthlessness, isolation and what some refer to “doom and gloom” thinking. In severe cases, thoughts of death or suicide, and/or self-harm behaviors are also present.
Depression is very much a treatable disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the treatment of choice for depression which involves goal and activity setting to focus on pleasurable activities, identifying, labeling and understanding negative thoughts and challenging emotions, and developing a strong relationship with their ‘wise mind’ to help them with more balanced statements and healthy coping. When suicidal thoughts or self-harm are present, I combine CBT with a strict safety protocol to include skills coaching and coping.