Low mood and depression in children and young people

Signs your child might be experiencing low mood or depression

Thoughts and feelings 

  • Feeling hopeless, having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of wanting to hurt themselves.
  • Feeling irritable, upset, miserable and lonely. Being self-critical.


Not getting any enjoyment out of the usual things they would find enjoyable. Having a lack of concentration, under or overeating, avoiding friends or social situations, teary or crying repeatedly.

Physical symptoms

Sleeping lots or none at all, having a lack of energy, tiredness.

How you can support your child/young person experiencing low mood and depression

  • Work together to find positive coping strategies.
  • Keep a mood diary.
  • Plan their week around positive activities.
  • Talk to the child about getting enough sleep and how their mood is affecting their sleeping patterns. Check the child’s diet includes enough nutrients. Encourage the child to take part in sports as these will increase mood.​
  • Ask the child to focus on good times and places and reflect upon a time when they felt happy. What were they doing? Could they do this now?​
  • Highlight the child’s achievements, point out things they are doing well, and talk to them about the good things you’ve noticed about them lately. Reflect on this with them and ask them how they feel about this.
  • Enable the child to have a laugh. They could watch some funny videos on YouTube and talk about a time when they found something really funny.
  • Allow the child to know that you understand feeling this way must be difficult, but they are not alone, there are lots of ways you can overcome this together.