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Spotting Depression in Your Child (Signs and Seeking Help)

Depression and anxiety are some of the major threats teenagers have to deal with in the 21st-century, and children in Singapore are no exception.

The symptoms of depression are often misunderstood and, in many cases, adults are too slow to take action and by the time they realize that the child is depressed, it may be too late. Educating yourself on mental health issues is vital to mitigate the situation.

Adolescence is characterized by irritability, moodiness and social withdrawal, and because of that, some parents may not realize that these symptoms might point at something darker than simply adolescent behavior.

However, depression is not an incurable condition, so if you suspect that your child is suffering from depression there are steps you can take to alleviate their anxiety and speed up their recovery.


Depression signs you need to look out for.

All parents need to be vigilant in order to recognize the signs of depression as soon as possible. Depressed people may not exhibit exactly the same symptoms but have a combination of various symptoms instead.

One of those telltale signs is acting out when dealing with emotional distress. Also, your child may have difficulty concentrating at school which will result in lower grades than usual.

Depressed teenagers also suffer from crushingly low self-esteem and tend to be withdrawn from society. On the other hand, some teenagers may become aggressive and at times violent.

A child that has lost interest in the activities they previously used to be passionate about may also be experiencing depression. Some other signs of depression are experiencing excessive guilt for minor mistakes, neglecting homework, household chores, and other types of irresponsible behavior, use of drugs and/or alcohol, and possibly a desire to run away from home.

In extreme cases, a child may become excessively preoccupied with death and eventually develop suicidal thoughts. If one of those signs occurs just once it might not be indicative of depression however persistent signs are a cause for concern.

If you think that your child is suffering from depression don’t hesitate to seek help from a qualified mental health professional in Singapore.

Read also: Reducing exam stress in Singapore: Should Grades Define Worth?


How to provide a sense of safety and security.

Teenagers all over the world are under various degrees of stress. This stress may be caused by educational demands, relationships with peers or parents, and so on. In order to combat depression, you will need to alleviate some of the stress your teenager is experiencing by providing a sense of safety and security.

This is one of the first steps that lead toward recovery.

And don’t underestimate the importance of talking it out. Discuss emotions with your child and listen to them when they tell you about the negative events that occurred in their life. Perhaps they’re dealing with the problem you’re not even aware of such as bullying.

The important thing here is to make them feel comfortable enough so that they confide in you. You can also reduce the amount of stress by making some key adjustments in their daily schedule. For example, if they are overwhelmed with homework you can temporarily take away some of the chores. You can also do things that may alleviate your child's menal state such as having a walk together, learning musical instruments, or even practicing items from depression worksheets.

While having structure and responsibilities in life is important, being flexible and understanding is also vital especially when you’re dealing with a stressed-out teenager.

And last but not least, don’t be shy to seek the assistance of a qualified mental health professional in Singapore. Admitting that you have a problem is nothing to be ashamed of; and the psychologist can help your child develop necessary coping skills.


Don’t blame yourself.

When a child is facing a serious problem many parents’ knee-jerk reaction is to blame themselves for it. They do this because they firmly believe that as a parent it is their responsibility to protect and guide their child through life and they view their child's depression as a failure to do their parental duty.

The thing is, your child may be experiencing depression due to reasons that have nothing to do with you or your conduct, and blaming yourself for the way they are feeling isn’t going to accomplish anything and will not aid recovery.

Another thing you need to understand is that chronic depression is a mental illness and in the majority of cases upbringing and genetics are not to blame.

Playing the blame game only wastes time that should be spent searching for a qualified therapist in Singapore. A mental health professional will be able to help your child during the therapy sessions and in addition, they will provide you with valuable information on how to help your child's recovery when they are at home.

Also consider how online psychology can help with behavioural health matters of your child.


Look out for suicide warning signs.

In extreme cases, depressed teens could become suicidal if the condition is not addressed for a long period of time.

Serious depression is characterized by alcohol and drug abuse as well as severe mood swings and being withdrawn from society.

Here are some of the suicide warning signs you need to look out for.

The first and most obvious sign is your child talking about committing suicide even if they are doing so in a casual or humorous manner.

Another sign is romanticizing death and viewing it as a positive thing.

Severely depressed teenagers also engage in reckless behavior which could potentially end with self-harm. Some teenagers may start giving away personal items and saying goodbye to the people close to them. Writing about death and imagining what it would be like to experience it is another telltale sign of severe depression.

If your teenager exhibit one or more of these symptoms do not postpone seeking help! Get in touch with a qualified mental health professional in Singapore and follow their instructions.

You can call a hotline set up by the Singapore Association of Mental Health ( 1800 283 7019 ) or call another hotline provided by the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS 1800 221 4444).


The most important thing is to be vigilant and not to ignore and underestimate the signs of depression. Your child may not directly ask for help because they might lack the emotional maturity to understand what is happening to them, but they will be showing you that they are in need of help through their actions, so pay attention.

If you just dismiss it as a phase and keep waiting for it to pass depression might cause irreversible harm to your child.

To conclude, being aware of mental health issues and seeking help should never be regarded as embarrassing, and depression symptoms should never be ignored. The sooner your face the facts, the better your child’s chances are of making a full recovery and leading a happy and healthy life for many decades.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.