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Depression in Early Childhood
September 5, 2017
When, indeed, shall we learn that we are all related one to the other, that we are all members of one body? Until the spirit of love for our fellow men, regardless of race, color, or creed, shall fill the world, making real in our lives and our deeds the actuality of human brotherhood until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each others' welfare, social justice can never be attained.
-Helen Keller

"Many people mistakenly believe depression is only diagnosed and treated in adolescents and adults. After all, kids don't fully understand major life stressors or have the self-awareness and maturity to feel anything more than a shallow sense of sadness. Right? Wrong," wrote Kirstin Fawcett in a US News and World Report article.

Fawcett explains that "the medical community has started to focus more on the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric depression – spurred by increased awareness of mental health conditions, as well as a growing body of research in the discipline. According to pediatric psychiatrists, approximately 5 to 8 percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression at any given time. But while the numbers peak in adolescence – teens ages 13 to 16 are more likely to receive a diagnosis – physicians do report cases of depression in children as young as 2 years old...

"Parents might want to wait for their kid to 'snap out of' or 'outgrow' their depression, mental health professionals say. But according to studies, early onset depression often persists into adulthood, and can signal that the child will experience more frequent and severe episodes in adolescence or adulthood...Early diagnosis, intervention and treatment are key, experts say. Childhood depression is just as serious as adult mental illness – and should be treated as such."

Source: "Coping With Childhood Depression," by Kirstin Fawcett, US News and World Report, July 8, 2015

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