Depression and Back-to-School: Warning Signs and Tips for Parents

Depression and Back-to-School

Depression is a well-known condition in adults. Surprisingly, though, many young children and teens also suffer from depression.

The symptoms of depression can be aggravated by stressful factors like changes in routine, academic pressures, and new teachers. Specialists say that there is a connection between depression and back-to-school season.

Change can be hard for anyone, even adults. Several factors can make this more challenging, like the transition to earlier bedtimes and anxiety about a new school.

Even though depression in children and teens can happen on any occasion, there is a higher risk during the back-to-school season. Students with mental health concerns, like ADHD or on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), are also more likely to have a tougher time switching routines.

Warning Signs for Parents

As a parent, you may wonder what the signs of depression in school are. Moreover, should you bring it up?

The quickest way to identify depression in teens is to be aware of clues and ask questions. You should pay close attention to the following warning signs:

  • Sudden drop in grades.
  • Change in sleep patterns or the desire to be alone.
  • Lack of focus or forgetfulness.
  • Irritability.
  • Self-harm or change in hygiene.
  • Giving items away.
  • Suicidal thoughts or increased mentions of death.

Other clues of depression in teens are lack of appetite, alcohol or drug use, and negative self-talk (‘nothing I do is right/nothing matters’),”. If your child exhibits symptoms of depression in school, it’s important that you connect your child with a health care professional for support.

The good news? As a parent, you can minimize the link between depression and back-to-school for your own child this year.

Steps Parents Can Take

Just like we help kids learn about brushing their teeth, hygiene, and exercise, start talking about health and wellness, including mental health early on. If we talk to young people about coping skills and what to do when they don’t feel good emotionally, we have created a channel to talk about it more easily as more intense experiences arise.

When the back-to-school transition looms on the horizon, specialists

suggest adjusting bedtime routines a few weeks before school starts, and discussing any peer concerns your child might have. It’s a good time for parents to process with their children and provide strategies for how to handle anything that comes up.

Make mental health and wellness a part of your conversation with your kids. Ask questions to help your child feel confident, well-adjusted, and prepared for this back-to-school season, and throughout the school year.

In case you find warning signs or unusual behaviors, contact a specialist to figure out how to proceed.

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