It can be hard for children to grasp that depression is a true medical disorder. After all, you're not in the hospital, you're not hooked up to tubes and wires, and no bones are broken. But your children can certainly sense that something is wrong with you, and you may be looking for some way to talk to them about depression—in a way they'll understand. Here are some typical questions kids ask, along with answers you can provide:

  • Why does depression make you act this way? Depression is a disorder that affects how I think, act, and feel. It makes me get angrier and sadder than usual, and I'm also a lot more tired. That's why I don't always have the energy to play with you or read with you.
  • Does anyone else but you have depression? Sure. Depression actually is fairly common, but a lot of people don't like to talk about it because they think it's embarrassing.
  • How do you get depression? No one knows exactly why someone gets from depression. Some people are more prone to it than others. Sometimes it starts because something bad happens, like someone you love dies, but other times it seems to come out of the blue.
  • Will I catch it? While it's true that some people have a family history of depression in the same way that our family has always had a lot of redheads, just because I'm depressed doesn't mean you'll become depressed. It's not catching like a stomach bug is catching. The most important thing you can do to keep depression away is to always talk to me about how you're feeling.
  • How do you fix depression? The good news is that most people with depression can be treated. There are a lot of ways to make it better, but what works for me might not work for someone else. I might take certain medicines that will help my brain chemicals work better, or I might go talk to someone called a therapist, who will help me figure out what's bothering me.
  • Can you die from depression? That's a good question. While depression doesn't kill you the way cancer or a heart attack can, there are people who feel so bad inside that they want to die. If I ever felt that way, I would talk to my doctor to make sure I stopped feeling that way.


Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,