Tips and Risk Factors for Pediatric Depression
Here are several tips for managing a depressed student in the classroom:
- Make the child a leader in classroom activities to help foster self-confidence.
- Develop a rapport with the student, look him or her in the eye and acknowledge their existence each day.
- Try and remember very specific things about the student to let him or her know you’re paying attention.
- Provide the student with individual attention when possible to show he or she is important to you.
- Find something about the student to praise each day.
- Foster an open door policy and provide an outlet for the student to talk if he or she is comfortable with you. Don’t force the issue; just let him or her know you’re willing and available to listen. Sometimes a student just wants to be heard.
- Be mindful of the student's poems, pictures and drawings, statements and red flag words that may indicate the student is considering death and/or suicide or is obsessed with death. If you notice any of these things, seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.
The risk factors for pediatric depression include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Loss of a parent or loved one
- Break up of a romantic relationship
- Attention, conduct or learning disorders
- Chronic illnesses
- Current or history of abuse, neglect or other trauma
- Exposure to parental substance abuse or domestic violence
- Exposure to natural disasters
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