Depressionchildren with depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses among American adults, but the widespread nature of this disorder is not only limited to people above eighteen. Anyone can have depression, including teenagers and children, and it’s not unusual for perfectly happy-seeming kids to develop it. Sometimes the onset of depression in children and adolescents has an obvious trigger, like a loss or traumatic event, but just like in adults, sometimes there is no clear cause. 


If you start to notice that things seem off with your child or teen, it’s possible that they’re struggling with their mental health and need help and support. These are some common signs of depression in children that you should keep an eye out for!

Significant Appetite Changes or Weight Loss

Changes in your child’s appetite are often one of the most obvious signs you’ll pick up on, because you’re the one who’s trying to ensure that they keep a healthy diet. Adults get this symptom of depression, too. In children, it isn’t unheard of for a kid to develop a ravenous appetite ahead of a growth spurt, but if you notice your child eating much more or much less and can’t seem to pinpoint a reason, or if they’re gaining or losing a significant amount of weight, it might be cause for concern that they’re feeling down.

Changes in Sleep 

Teenagers staying up late and having trouble waking up early is also fairly common and might not point to anything wrong, but you’ll want to keep a look out for sudden, unexplained changes that go against what’s normal for your child in terms of their sleep schedule and energy levels. If you have an early riser who’s suddenly unable to get out of bed, or your night owl is now constantly exhausted and going to bed early, you’ll want to think about what might be causing these changes.

Frequent Headaches or Stomach Aches

This sign is especially common in young children who have trouble processing and understanding their own emotions. Intense low moods and anxiety can often outwardly present as your child complaining of frequent headaches or stomach aches, even going so far as to interfere with their regular activities and school. Don’t be too quick to jump to the conclusion that your child is faking these ailments for attention– your child is likely telling you the truth about how they’re physically experiencing these strong emotions, and a little extra attention and care might be what they need to help them get through this.

Behavioral Problems and Suffering Grades

Education and maintaining a healthy school life is of the utmost importance for developing children. If your child is having problems at school, it’s a red flag. These can be struggles with their grades and classwork, but it can also be frequent incidents with other students, trouble making friends, bullying, social isolation, or difficulty with a teacher. All of these problems are things that you should be paying attention to, as they can be signs of childhood depression or other mental health problems.

Loss of Interest in Fun Activities

One of the things that sets depression apart from garden-variety sadness or blue moods is that it affects the way you experience the world. It isn’t just that you aren’t happy, it’s that you have trouble feeling happy at all, even in situations where you normally would. This is true for both adults and children, and it’s a sign that you should definitely be looking out for if you suspect your child is depressed. If your kid isn’t enthusiastic about things they used to love, avoids their favorite activities, and seems to have no desire or energy to do anything fun, it should be raising alarm bells in your head. This is probably a sign that they’re struggling with their mental health!


Depression is a challenge to deal with for adults, and it can be even more challenging for young children and teens. However, with plenty of help and compassion from you and support from professionals, your family can get through it together! Learn more about depression and how it’s treated here.