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how to talk about depression with children

Keep the Talk Age Appropriate
You want to make sure that your child understands what you are saying and is not confused or bored by the discussion.

Make sure that you are using words that your child can understand. Words such as “depression” or “emotional reaction” are probably too complex for a younger child but may be appropriate for an older child or adolescent. Try comparing her depression to something that your child is already familiar with — like another illness that your child has had experience with (e.g., flu, ear infection, etc.)

Keep the Conversation Positive
Keeping your depression discussion positive does not mean that you should sugar-coat it. Depression is a serious illness that causes emotional and physical pain, and it can have serious consequences. However, if you maintain a positive and hopeful outlook in your discussions, you will avoid unnecessarily alarming your child.

Be Honest
In talking about depression, do not make promises you cannot keep or go into detail about topics that you are not certain of. Instead, tell your child what you do know, and make a list of questions to discuss with your child’s mental health professional.