• Depressive disorders are some of the most common, yet underdiagnosed, difficulties affecting children and adolescents. Depression can cause severe difficulties that may severely impact a student's daily life, such as how they handle daily activities like eating, sleeping, or working.  It is not always easily recognized, particularly in children, or may be mistaken as another problem, such as lack of motivation.  Although severe depression may result in suicide attempts, social isolation, or dramatic emotional swings, the vast majority of cases of depression are much milder and do not always attract attention from adults.  

    The following are warning signs for depression.  Keep in mind that it is, for example, common to feel sad and tired now and then, or to occasionally feel restless or have difficulty falling asleep.  Therefore, depression is defined not only by the presence of a certain number of these symptoms, but also their pervasiveness and duration.  

    • Irritability (one of the most common manifestations of depression in children).
    • Persistent sad or “empty” mood.
    • Feelings of helplessness, guilt, or worthlessness.
    • Restlessness.
    • Decreased energy or fatigue.
    • Loss of appetite or changes in weight.
    • Insomnia or hypersomnia.
    • Loss of interest in hobbies and/or activities.
    • Difficulty concentrating.
    • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

    Risk factors for depression:

    • Family history of depression or related difficulties.
    • Trauma or stress.
    • Major life changes.
    • Chronic physical illness.

    It is also important to note that sadness is entirely appropriate in some contexts, for example, following the loss of a loved one, so it is important to distinguish between things like grief and depression.  A mental health provider in school, or in the community, can help you if you are concerned that your child may be depressed.  


    National Helpline  -

    Ulster County Department of Health & Mental Health -

    Dutchess County Stabilization Center -

    Depression: Helping Handout for Home