Childhood Depression Awareness Day, observed on May 7 this year, was created to protect and help children who are suffering from this debilitating illness. The image we usually have of childhood is of children full of life and the desire to play, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately, childhood depression exists. It is a very serious issue that needs to be discussed by parents, caregivers, and teachers. Depression is one of the main factors that cause other illnesses worldwide, and it affects all age groups. WHO classifies depression as a global health crisis, but its impact on children can be even more devastating and extreme, putting the lives of boys and girls in jeopardy.
History of Childhood Depression Awareness Day
In most cultures, childhood is considered the most crucial stage for the formation of individuals. Majorly because it is at this age that people learn most of the things they will use throughout their lives, but also because it is when they are most fragile and vulnerable. Children must be cared for, nurtured, and protected. The last few generations were marked by profound social transformations and severe crises that altered the various childhood protection networks worldwide. Between wars and a decline in the environmental quality of life, children have gradually lost their right to childhood, either through the reduced public spaces to play and explore or the dismantled protection and education networks, among many other factors.
This is deeply distressing and has led to a pandemic of depression cases around the world in recent decades. Depression can affect anyone and is one of the most common illnesses, often co-existing with other serious illnesses, but its impact on children is much more worrisome. The growing number of suicides among children and adolescents is heartbreaking. In the U.S. alone, the suicide rate among ten to 24-year-olds increased by nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018.
In 1997, mothers and fathers suffering the pain of having depressed children decided to act. They formed the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and created Childhood Depression Awareness Day. In 2015, the Federation of Families started to carry out the Green Ribbon Campaign. This fundraising initiative aims to raise awareness of children’s mental health issues and educate the general public about the emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs of children and their families.
Childhood Depression Awareness Day timeline
Beneficiaries of psychiatric services and professionals interested in improving the conditions and quality of treatment for people with mental disorders establish the Mental Hygiene Movement in the U.S.
The congress is organized in London, establishing the World Federation of Mental Health and a series of recommendations on mental health.
Parents play their part in the long history of mental health awareness by observing Childhood Depression Awareness Day for the first time, focusing on children and adolescents.
Pressured by the growing number of cases of children and adolescents affected by depression, the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health starts a fundraising campaign, whose symbol is a green ribbon.
Childhood Depression Awareness Day FAQs
What is the theme of World Mental Health Day?
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental health in an unequal world.”
At what age do children get depressed?
Depression, and the triggering anxiety, appear to be most common among older children and teenagers. The age group most affected is 12 to 17 years.
What is the meaning of childhood depression?
Childhood depression is a persistent sadness experienced by children. It reveals itself as feelings of hopelessness, in which the child believes they are completely alone and deserve to feel and be that way.
How to Observe Childhood Depression Awareness Day
Learn more about depression
Depression is a collective problem everyone should be aware of. When it affects children, the responsibility is even greater. Childhood Depression Awareness Day is the perfect time to learn about it.
Take children's psychological distress seriously
Children need to be taken seriously and their pain heard. During Childhood Depression Awareness Day, train your empathy and truly talk and listen to children.
Contribute to the funding campaign
To further spread awareness of childhood depression, the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health runs fundraising campaigns. Contribute whatever you can to the Green Ribbon Campaign.
5 Facts About Depression In Children You Should Know
Children and teens who suffer from depression tend to isolate themselves and lose interest in activities that require social skills.
Drop in school performance
Depression is a very debilitating condition, and one of the first noticeable effects in children is a drop in school performance.
Apathy and irritability
When suffering from depression, children and adolescents often assume a fight-or-flight posture, which is reflected in apathetic or aggressive behavior.
Sleep and eating disorders
It is very common for depressed children to have chronic sleep problems such as bruxism, night terrors, and insomnia, as well as eating problems such as bulimia, anorexia, and body dysmorphia.
Fixed idea about suicide and death
The pain of depression can lead to morbid obsessive thoughts, which greatly increase the risk of suicide.
Why Childhood Depression Awareness Day is Important
It saves lives
Raising awareness of childhood depression contributes to the prevention. Long-term, it helps save the lives of children and adolescents.
There has been an increase in mental illness among children in recent years. It is important to know the symptoms and combat the stigma of mental suffering to better help children recover.
Helps heal the most vulnerable
The cure for depression requires an awareness that children and adolescents usually do not have. Children are vulnerable and struggle to defend themselves, especially emotionally and mentally. It is the role of adults to identify these problems and guide them on the healing journey.
Childhood Depression Awareness Day dates