Do you have a student in your class who often complains of aches and wants to leave early? Do you have to deal with this little student who is hypersensitive and often cries out of hurt feelings? If these incidents are frequent, then don’t ignore them.
Symptoms of depression in kids are often different from those in adolescents. Adolescents often make self-deprecating comments that are typical of low self-esteem. They look isolated and don’t get along with peers with common interests. They sulk in the classroom more often than most teens. On the other hands, kids with depression look and feel scattered. They are inattentive in the classroom; often forget to finish their assignments; and have a high degree of absenteeism.
A few things you can do to help students deal with depression are as follows:
- Connect with parents and guardians: Take this action as soon as possible. Politely make inquiries and get an idea about their domestic scenario. This will tell you if the triggers are at home. If you notice tendencies in them like being pushy and/or criticism, then counsel them so that they come to know how important it is to handle kids with care. When you speak to them, inquire if the student talks to them specifically about a fellow student, a particular teacher or a situation in a complaining or desperate tone. Depression can occur when young people face bullying, teasing or overly strict and critical monitoring at schools.
- Talk to the school counselor: Once you have an idea about the possible reason behind your student’s depression, speak to the counselor and brief her about the problem. If possible, arrange frequent and one-on-one sessions between the student and the counselor. Keep in touch with the counselor to know the progress.
- Insist on physical education: Urge the student to be physically active in the playground. This will help him or her connect better with peers. Also, physical activities like running and dancing lift up the spirit because they relieve stress, changing the brain chemistry.
- Provide opportunities for success: Be publicly vocal about the confidence you have in the student’s ability to succeed socially and academically.
- Encourage involvement: Students with depression are usually bored. Praise and encourage their efforts and urge them to continually take part in extracurricular activities.
- Foster contact with peers: Students who are depressed often withdraw from social contact. However, friends can be an important support system for them. You may need to remind other students about how to make the one depressed comfortable.
- Teach problem-solving skills: These skills can help depressed students generate a range of possible effective solutions. You have to involve other teachers, co-students and school staff as the depression starts to lift. You need to do this so that you can help put the student’s focus back on academics as s/he must have fallen behind due to therapeutic work.
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