Childhood Depression

Childhood Depression
Does a child you know show signs of Childhood Depression?

Depression runs in families. Children who are growing up in families where depression is a problem are at greater risk of developing a depressive disorder, than children who are growing up in families where depression is not a problem. When children suffer from depression they may also show signs of other psychological concerns such as learning and behavioral difficulties. 

Preventative programs that focus on children, when parental depression is a problem in their families, show promising results. Demonstrated positive, long-term results include reduced levels of depression, positive coping skills and increased resilience.

Symptoms of Childhood Depression

Although we usually associate depression with sadness or feelings of unhappiness, an irritable mood, rather than a depressed mood, may dominate in young people. In addition to an irritable mood, depressed children may also show problems with concentration and making decisions,  low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem,  feelings of hopelessness, poor appetite or overeating and sleep problems.

Help for Childhood Depression

Are you worried about a child who shows symptoms of depression? Or do you think a child is at risk because other family members show depressive symtoms?

Dr. O'Connor offers Psychological Assessments  and School Neuropsychological Evaluations to to help.   "Understanding the Problem is the Key to Solving It." A Psychological Assessment can help "get to the root" of child problems, including concerns related to depression, and lead to evidence based solutions to address any depressive symptoms that surface.   

Both the Psychological Assessment  and the School Neuropsychological Evaluation include a range of Standardized and Informal  measures, as well as a comprehensive report detailing the assessment findings, and evidence based interventions. 

What measures are most important depend on the child and his or her individual needs. Not all of these measures will apply in each case. The assessment is likely to include some or all of the following:

  •  Gathering Background Information: This includes information about the child, such as medical, developmental and family history. The parent will provide information about the child’s temperament, strengths and needs and their view of where things are working or not going so well, and what kind of help you need.

  • Various social, emotional, and behavioral rating scales, completed by the child,  and/or his or parent and sometimes his teacher. This might include The Child Depression inventory. This scale assesses the degree to which a child exhibits symptoms of child depression.
  • Story Telling, and Play/Art Based Techniques

Dr. O'Connor scores, interprets and summarizes the assessment information. She will then integrate this information into a written summary report. This will include her interpretation and summary of the test findings and practical, effective solutions to help reduce symptoms of childhood depression and encourage healthy coping strategies in children. She will also make diagnoses, including those which apply to various depressive disorders when appropriate.

Recommendations are tailored to the specific needs of the child.

Dr. O’Connor's report includes a summary of the child’s strengths and needs, an overview of Dr. O’Connor’s view of the problem, recommendations to address it, and options for further exploration. She will also refer you to relevant resources to provide further support and understanding about how to help the depressed child.

Find out more about how a Psychological Assessment  or School Neuropsychological Evaluation can help when you are worried about childhood depression. .