Children who are depressed experience persistent sadness that disrupts behavior and interferes with their normal social activities, interests, ability to succeed in school, and family relationships. Depression in children is often undiagnosed and untreated because many people pass off these behaviors as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during growth in childhood. While some children who are depressed act out in an angry manner, the primary symptoms of depression include sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes. Not all children with depression have the same symptoms and symptoms tend to appear differently at various times and places. At Ascent Children’s Health Center, we understand childhood depression and are capable of effectively helping your child once again find joy in their life. Call the friendly staff at Ascent today to get your child the treatment they need.
Why Seek Treatment for Childhood Depression?
While some children with depression are still able to function reasonably well, most children with this disorder will experience significant changes in their lives. They may no longer be interested in social activities or may begin to receive poor grades, and some children may experience a change in their appearance. If your child is depressed, it is essential to get them treatment as the symptoms will only get worse and can lead to substance abuse, and in severe cases, thoughts of suicide. Some of the signs or symptoms that your child may be depressed can include:
- Irritability or anger
- Vocal outbursts or crying
- Continuous feelings of sadness
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Social withdrawal
- Impaired thinking or concentration
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Constant physical complaints, such as stomachaches or headaches that don’t go away with treatment
- Reduction in time spent in social activities
A program that is specifically dedicated to treating mental health issues in children can be extremely helpful for treating your child’s depression. An outpatient or day treatment program like at Ascent can help your child learn better coping strategies, learn how to identify and manage their emotions better, and help them learn more appropriate interaction behaviors. Through a combination of different therapeutic approaches, your child can overcome their depression.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Ascent, we understand that each child and their family are unique individuals that require their own specialized needs. Our treatment staff is composed of compassionate professionals who are truly dedicated to the overall wellbeing of each child in need. We work hard to enhance the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health needs of all children enrolled in our programs. Additionally, we strive to promote hopefulness and independence. While your child is in our care we will do everything we can to make sure they get the most effective and appropriate care possible.
Treatment Options for Childhood Depression at Ascent Children’s Health Services
Once your child has been referred to our health center for their depression, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted to determine your child’s overall mental health status and any other medical issues they may have. The results of the assessment will be used to prepare an individualized treatment plan that will specifically target your child’s needs. This will ensure that they receive the most appropriate level of care. Different approaches will be used to address your child’s depression and will most likely include a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Individual therapy: Being able to spend one-on-one time with a therapist who specializes in childhood depression can greatly help ease some of the symptoms of a child’s depression as they work to get to the root cause of the problem. Through individual therapy, your child will learn more about his or her emotions and be able to develop proper coping skills. We often use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as a way to teach your child how their thoughts control their moods and behaviors, replacing negative views with more positive ones.
Group therapy: Since many children struggling with depression have become socially isolated, group sessions are a good way for them to connect with other children their own age and practice newly-learned social skills. Group topics may include emotional regulation, deep breathing and relaxation techniques, coping skills, and identification and management of emotions.
Family therapy: Family involvement in the therapeutic process is vital to your child’s recovery. Family sessions will occur no less than one time per month to discuss your child’s progress. These sessions will be child-focused and ensure that our treatment team is on the same page as you and your family in regards to continuity of treatment. Our doctors may watch the ways in which you interact with your child and show you new ways of working with your child in order to promote healing and positive communication.
Depending upon the recommendation from your child’s psychiatrist, your child may briefly be placed on medication to help manage the symptoms of their depression. All medication use is closely monitored and managed by their primary physician.
Since Ascent Children’s Health Services is a holistic treatment center, we include a variety of experiential therapies in addition to our other therapeutic interventions in an effort to heal the whole child. These methods may include:
- Nutrition and wellness counseling
- Feeding clinics
- Sensory rooms
- Therapy gyms
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Ascent Children’s Health Services offers a variety of treatments aimed at managing many mental health and developmental childhood conditions. Our multidisciplinary treatment team allows us to provide all of our services under one roof. Children who are struggling with developmental or medical disorders may enroll in our Child Health Management Services (CHMS). We offer day treatment and outpatient services for those who qualify for these services. Children who struggle with behavioral problems may join our Rehabilitative Services for Persons with Mental Illness (RSPMI) program, which is also offered on a day treatment program or on an outpatient basis. Our initial assessments will determine the proper level of care for your child.
While your child is receiving treatment for their condition, we make sure to conduct annual assessments to ensure that your child is still in need of our services. If your child no longer requires our treatment services, we will conduct a formal discharge process that allows for continuity of care and ensures that an appropriate aftercare plan has been developed. Some children will step-down from our day program into our outpatient program or from our outpatient program into a school-based program. Other children may step up from outpatient into day treatment as needed. We also offer in home visits to check on your child’s progress and to make sure they’re properly adjusting to the new treatment plan.