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Let’s Get Real About Pediatric Depression?

What Are The Symptoms of Pediatric Depression

By: Dr. Lisa Di Enno, MD, FAAP

We commonly think of adults when we hear words like, depression or anxiety. It’s the attention and lack of focus on pediatric mental health that leads most of us to think this way. We don’t hear about kids struggling often these issues, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. And, quite honestly, they are more common than you may think.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we thought this is the perfect time to talk about these mental health concerns because, just as things are hard for you, they are tough for kids, too. Think about it – kids are social beings. They may not like school, but they love their friends. And, summer is a time of getting outdoors and spending time with friends. Sadly – thank you COVID – most kids haven’t seen their friends in months!

This can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression in young kids and teens. Many may not even know the terms for what they are feeling. That’s why it is so important for you to be aware of the symptoms so that you can get them the help they need.

Kids and teens who are experiencing anxiety may exhibit these signs or symptoms:

  • Meltdowns
  • Significant avoidance behaviors
  • Impacts their life
  • Excessive fear
  • Excessive worry
  • Resisting separation from parents
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches

Those facing depression may exhibit the following:

  • Anger and irritability
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Loss of interest in things they once loved
  • Change in eating/sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawn
  • Physical pain, such as headaches, stomach aches, run-down, muscle aches, or body aches

Depression and anxiety often occur together. If you feel that your child is suffering from one or both, talk to them. Let your child open up and share. Acknowledge their pain and validate it. Remember, what may seem minor and insignificant to us as adults may be huge to a child or teen – so don’t minimize it.

Beware – there are some red flags you need to look out for. If your child exhibits any of these 5 symptoms, then go to the ER immediately.

  • Your child has a plan to commit suicide.
  • Your child has the intention to harm one’s self.
  • Previous unsuccessful suicide attempts.
  • Depression is mixed with signs of mania.
  • Depression with signs of psychosis, such as visual or audible hallucinations.

Pediatricians can help with depression and anxiety in your kids. If you have any worries or questions, call! That’s what we do! To schedule your telemedicine appointment XpertCare today, click here:

Dr. Lisa Di Enno is the Chief Medical Officer at XpertCare Pediatric Digital Clinic. You can contact her at to schedule an appointment.