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What can you do at home to help childhood depression?

The first thing to do is to realize that children do get depressed, either because of a chemical imbalance in their brain or due to stress, grief or trauma. The next step is to recognize that while depression in adults may present as lethargy, talk of suicide or a lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, in children depression can be expressed through acting out in school, becoming aggressive or irritable, or getting into trouble, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

If you think your child is depressed, you should consult a child psychiatrist, a child psychologist or other mental health professional. In addition to whatever medication or therapy your child will be getting from the professional, you can introduce your child to activities at home that will lift her mood and can even set her on the path to a future career.

A number of great musicians, writers and artists battled depression or other mental illnesses, and they poured their feelings into their art. Provide your child with paint, crayons, clay, a musical instrument and/or a blank book for writing down whatever feelings he wants to explore. If you sit down together with your child and join in the activity, he'll usually enjoy it even more.

Much research has shown that exercise can be highly effective in treating depression, due to the release of "feel good" endorphins. Take your child outside for a brisk walk and enjoy the change of scenery, and don't worry if people see your child outside with you during school hours; for all they care you could be taking him to the dentist. Dancing, yoga, gymnastics, fencing, tennis, hiking and martial arts are other great ways to help lift that depression.