On any given day, my girls go from bubbly and giggling to crying and moody and back again at warp speed — and often within the same minute. It's normal for kids to display a range of emotions, and sadness is no exception.  

But some kids may experience more than just occasional bouts of sadness. They may be truly depressed and need help coping. Lots of things could spark an episode of depression — bad grades, a fight with a friend, bullying at school, divorcing parents, an illness in the family — and kids have a hard time dealing with their overwhelming emotions and feelings.  

So how do you know if your child is depressed? Here are a few signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Crying
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
But most importantly, trust your gut. You know your kid, and if things seem off, it may be time to act. You may be able to help your child pull through a bout of depression by teaching her coping skills to handle her emotions (the Mayo Clinic has some good ideas). If not, talk to your child's health care practitioner or school counselor about other options to help her deal with depression.

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