As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents has depression. If your child has five or more symptoms for at least two weeks or if they interfere with his or her daily activities (e.g., going to school, playing with friends), then your child may be clinically depressed. Other warning signs of childhood depression include headaches, frequent absences from school, social isolation and reckless behavior.

Poor parenting does not cause childhood depression. It may have many origins – genetics, biochemistry and a variety of other factors. Fortunately, treatment for childhood depression is highly effective. If you think your child may suffer from depression, ask your pediatrician to do a screening or for a referral to a health professional experienced in dealing with depression in children. Research is now indicating that early diagnosis and treatment might lessen future depressive episodes.

The FDA has just released a public health advisory on the reports of suicidality in pediatric patients being treated with antidepressant medications for major depressive disorder. Click here to read the advisory, http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/advisory/mdd.htm.