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Child Depression Statistics

Do you worry that your child may be depressed? Find childhood depression statistics and facts in this article. If you have a depressed child, teen, or young adult - get the information to find them help today.



There are number of warning signs that may indicate your child is suffering from a serious condition such as childhood depression. Many people may think that children can't suffer from depression, they are too young, haven't experienced enough in life to have any idea what depression is all about. The fact is, there are a significant number of children that do suffer from childhood depression. For some it is caused by trauma during childhood: death of a parent, abuse, life-threatening illness, or a number of other traumatic events. For others it is simply hereditary.

According to the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), the childhood depression statistics for major depressive disorders say that:

  • Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44.
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the average age of onset is 32.
  • More women than men have major depressive disorder.

These depression statistics may make one believe that it would be rare for children to have such a disorder as major depression. The truth is that preschool aged children are the fastest growing age group being prescribed anti-depressants. Girls are prescribed anti-depressants twice as often as boys. These statistics come from an April 2004 issue of Psychiatric Services and the NMHA (National Mental Health Association).

Irina V. Sokolova at the Rochester Institute of Technology wrote a paper on Depression in Children and states that 1 in 33 children have depression and 1 in eight adolescents suffer from depression. She also points out the 70 percent of children do not receive treatment for their mental and emotional disorders.

Ms. Sokolova's research found that the major components for childhood depression and other emotional disorders are: stressors in everyday life, family instability and depressed parents.

NMHA child depression statistics state that when a child has an episode of depression they are at risk of having another episode within five years.

NMHA also states that suicide is the sixth leading cause of death for 5 to 14 year olds. The number of attempted suicides is much higher according to the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).

The reasoning behind these child depression statistics has been blamed on many things. Everyone has a theory as to why more and more of our children are depressed. It is hard to find hard data on any one thing. What can be found clearly is that depression is a common thread among children who are:

  • Stressed over scheduled children with too many daily stressors or worries.
  • Family instability any time that there is instability in the home, on any level, the children involved pay a heavy price.
  • Genetics There are links that if parents are depressed then their children are more prone.
  • Drug and Alcohol use It is hard to say which comes first, depression or substance abuse.
  • What we do know is that both childhood depression and childhood substance and alcohol use are both on the rise at alarming rates.

What is important to remember is that depression is not just a "grown up" problem. Children are plagued by this debilitating disorder more and more each day. If you see anything alarming in your child be sure to check with your pediatrician or family doctor to make sure that your child is okay. It is important to note that children do not always display the same symptoms and tell tale signs of depression as adults. While adults can seem withdrawn, children may seem irritable. It is important to realize that children with emotional, mental, and psychiatric disorders tend to have symptoms that cross over to different disorders and therefore can be hard to diagnose. Just don't ignore symptoms. Keep pressing the issue with your doctor until you get to the bottom of the problem.


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