Once considered rare in childhood and adolescence, it is now acknowledged that depression does occur early in life. In childhood it is often associated with mood reactivity and irritability, as well as co-occurring disruptive behaviour. Adolescents on the other hand may present with features similar to adults; they are often anxious, are high risk for substance misuse and suicidal behaviour.
There are a number of factors that serve as risks for the development of depression: these include being female (after adolescence), family stressors, peer rejection, trouble with romantic relationships, abuse or maltreatment, chronic medical conditions and family history.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviours remain an extremely worrying phenomenon. Unfortunately a number of young people contemplate suicide and several engage in repeated suicide attempts. Aside for mental health problems, there are several factors correlated with suicidal behaviour – those foremost on the list include bullying and substance misuse.
There is a distinction between suicidal behaviour and so-called deliberate self-harm/ non-suicidal self-injury. Self-injury is often associated with the child or adolescents’ attempts to manage unbearable emotional states.