Look out for:
- sadness, or a low mood that does not go away
- being irritable or grumpy all the time
- not being interested in things they used to enjoy
- feeling tired and exhausted a lot of the time
- having trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual
- not being able to concentrate
- interacting less with friends and family
- being indecisive
- not having much confidence
- eating less than usual or overeat
- having big changes in weight
- seeming unable to relax or be more lethargic than usual
- talking about feeling guilty or worthless
- feeling empty or unable to feel emotions (numb)
- having thoughts about suicide or self-harm
- actually self-harming, for example, cutting their skin or banging their heads on hard services
What can you do to help?
- Speak to your child's class teacher, a member of SLT or our FSW. We can help.
- Give your child emotional support. Spend quality time with your child and encourage open and honest conversations (more advice on this can be found under our 'sensitive conversations tab.') Listen to what your child has to say and recognise that the issue they talk about is big and important to them, even if it may not seem it to you.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Physical and mental health are closely connected and a healthy lifestyle can help manage low mood. Provide healthy options and adopt a healthy lifestyle yourself. Being subtle in your suggestions and providing a good example can help encourage them to want a healthy life for themselves. Physical activity is a good stress reliever. Encourage your child to play a sport or even just take regular walks with them. You can offer your company or suggest they find an exercise-buddy. You can also try filling the fridge with fruits, veggies and nuts, and remove all the sugary drinks and refined sugar.
- Sleep. If our body doesn’t get enough sleep, it feels sluggish and heavy. Consequentially, we start feeling exhausted, unmotivated and it can worsen low mood. If you can, try motivating your child to sleep regularly and stick to a consistent bedtime. (More advice can be found under our Personal Care page.)
- Address loneliness. A lack of interaction and connection can worsen low mood. Some children find it hard to socially interact and make the first move with new friends. You can support them to join a club at school or attend activities as well as encourage play dates and sleepovers at your house. You can also organise family gatherings.
- Access support. Speak to school staff and your GP. Professionals will be able to access appropriate services for your child.