Back to school blues or something more serious? Help is at hand

timline: {}

The school summer holidays are drawing to a close and many parents are getting their children ready to go back to school. Understandably, most children aren’t looking forward to hitting the books again, but is there something bigger that’s worrying them?

Some studies show that almost one in four young people will experience depression before they are 19 years old. It’s important to get help early if you think your child may be depressed. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is to disrupt your child’s life and turn into a long-term problem.

Dr James Ogle, GP Clinical Lead at West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There is a difference between feeling a bit low from time to time and a serious emotional health problem. If your child is feeling unhappy and low for a prolonged period of time, it’s time to seek more professional help.

“Some signs of depression in children can include having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual, eating less than usual or overeating, or being unable to relax, concentrate or make decisions. Headaches and stomach aches may be physical symptoms of anxiety.”

You may be able to get help from a teacher or a school counsellor or welfare worker depending on the situation. Alternatively, book an appointment to see your GP who may suggest a referral to a mental health service specialising in supporting young people.

In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, parents or children can contact Leicestershire CAMHS Valentine Centre on 0116 2952992 or for further information please visit:  www.leicspart.nhs.uk/_OurServicesAZ-ChildandAdolescentMentalHealthServiceCAMHS.aspx

YoungMinds (www.youngminds.org.uk) offers free confidential online and telephone support to anyone worried about the emotional and mental wellbeing of anyone aged under 25. The Parents Helpline (freephone 0808 802 5544) is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm.

Childline (www.childline.org.uk) offers free confidential counselling for children (freephone 0800 1111) and is available 24 hours a day.

Kooth.com also offers online counselling support for young people.

Dr James Ogle added: “It’s important to talk to your child if you think they’re depressed. Try to find out what’s troubling them and how they are feeling. If they don’t want to talk, just letting them know that you care and that you’re there if they need you can make a big difference.

“If they say they feel empty or numb, guilty or worthless, or have thoughts about suicide or self-harming, then encourage them to speak to a professional immediately.”

The NHS website has some tips on talking to younger children and talking to teenagers.
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/talking-to-children-about-feelings
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/talking-to-your-teenager

The Health for Teens website also includes a specific page on anxiety as you start a new school: www.healthforteens.co.uk/growing-up/starting-a-new-school/starting-a-new-school