Depression in Children: A Resource Page for Families

Learn signs of depression in children, preventative measures, and ways to support your kid’s mental health.

Depression in children illustrated by a parent and child embracing and turning away
Depression in children: the data

According to Bark data, in 2021, 32.11% of tweens and 56.40% of teens engaged in conversations about depression.

Depression in Children:
What You Need to Know

Identifying and treating depression in children can feel like a monumental task. Teens and tweens are often dealing with fluctuating hormones, and normal mood swings aren’t always easy to differentiate from a mental health issue.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depressed teens suffer the same symptoms as depressed adults, but the symptoms are often masked and dismissed as normal teenage behavior.


Children affected by depression almost always leave clues online that hint at what they’re going through.


Bark helps parents shine a light on these early warning signals and jump in to take action with research-based, expert advice for helping your child.

Potential Signs of Depression in Children

Note: These are not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your child to a professional if you suspect they may have depression.

  • Decreased interest in what they used to enjoy
  • Drawing away from friends and/or family members
  • A sustained change in eating habits
  • Drastic mood changes
  • Acting out more than usual

To be alerted if your child’s online activities show signs of depression, click below.

Depression in children illustrated by a young boy typing on a laptop

LGBTQ+ Mental Health

LGBTQ+ kids often experience depression at higher rates than their peers.

A child looks at their phone with faded multicolored emojis in the background

Suicidal Ideation Signs

Not sure which warning signs you should watch out for? Here are some suggestions.

Depression in children illustrated by a parent embracing their child on a cream background with multicolored accents

Talking About Suicide

Conversations about mental health can be tough. This resource can help guide you.

Suicidal ideation illustrated by a text message displaying on an iphone


What are signs of depression in teens?

Childhood depression is different from the normal "blues" or everyday mood changes that kids experience while growing up. Here are some warning signs of potential depression:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Withdrawal from their favorite activities
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Physical complaints that do not respond to treatment
  • Thoughts or talk of death and/or suicide
What are some teen depression statistics?

23.6% of tweens and 44.1% of teens engaged in conversations about depression. Bark's Annual Report, 2022

15.08% of youth ages 12–17 report suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the past year. —Mental Health America

Depression in youth has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. CNN

What should I do if my kid is experiencing depression and anxiety?
  1. Offer support. Let your child know you’re there for them — fully and unconditionally. Tweens and teens don’t like to feel patronized or crowded, so let your child drive the conversation.
  2. Be gentle but persistent. Don’t give up if your child isn’t ready to talk at first — the conversations can be stressful for them. Be respectful of their comfort level while still emphasizing your concern.
  3. Listen without lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize, pass judgment, or make ultimatums once your child begins to open up. The important thing is that your child is communicating.
  4. Validate their feelings. Don’t try to “talk your child out of their depression,” even if their feelings seem irrational to you. Simply acknowledge the pain and numbness they may be feeling. Let them know it’s OK not to feel OK.
  5. Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Mental and physical health are closely intertwined. Make sure your child is eating nutritious food, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
Depression in children illustrated by a mother and child by a window

How to Talk About Depression

If you think your child may be depressed, it can be really tough to know how to start a conversation. These suggestions can help.

  • What’s one thing that’s worried you recently?
  • Do you feel like your best self? What would help you feel better?
  • What’s something I should be doing better to support you?
  • What emotion do you feel the most these days?
  • What has brought you the most joy this month?

Additional Resources

It can be challenging to navigate depression with your child, but here are some additional resources that can help: