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Sadness and Depression

Feeling down? You're not alone. Everyone feels sad at times. 

Sadness is a natural human emotion. Like other emotions, sad feelings come and go. Sometimes sad feelings last only a moment. Other times, sadness lasts longer or feels extra strong. 

Sad Feelings Are Normal

It's OK to feel sad sometimes. But it feels much better to be happy. So here are some things every kid should know:

  • You can cope with sad things that happen.
  • You can do things to ease a sad mood and feel happier. 
  • A positive attitude can help you through disappointments.
  • Learning how to deal with sad feelings can make a big difference in your life. 

When Sadness Is Depression

When you're in a sad mood, it can seem like it will last forever. But usually feelings of sadness don't last very long — a few moments, a few hours, or maybe a day or two. 

But sometimes sad feelings go on for too long, hurt too deeply, and make it hard to enjoy the good things about life. This deeper sadness that lasts a lot longer is called depression.

Depression can make it seem like problems are too big to deal with. People who are depressed might think things will never get better. They might feel like they are worthless or bad. They may be sad or grumpy for weeks, or even longer. They might not want to hang out anymore or feel too tired to do things like play, go to school, or go to work. 

People get depressed for lots of reasons. Difficult problems or an overload of stress can lead some people to become depressed. People might become depressed after losing someone they're close to.

Like any illness, depression is not the person's fault. People who are depressed can get better and feel happier. If you think you or someone you know has depression or sadness that will not go away, talk to an adult about it. Ask the adult to help.

Getting Help for Depression

People who have depression should let someone know how they feel. They need to reach out for help. Sometimes kids and adults with depression need help from a doctor, therapist, or counselor who knows all about depression. 

When people get help with depression, their sad moods and thoughts can become brighter and more positive again. Problems seem easier to solve. They get their energy back. They feel better about themselves. They feel more hopeful. Depression starts to lift with each positive step. 

Helping Yourself

Here are things you can do. These things are simple. But they are very powerful against depression:

  • Eat healthy foods 
  • Get the right amount of sleep
  • Walk, play, or do something else to get exercise every day
  • Take time to relax 
  • Take time to notice the good things about life, no matter how small

It also helps to share your feelings with someone who cares. There is always somebody to talk to when you are sad or depressed — like a parent, relative, doctor, teacher, counselor, coach, or close adult friend. You feel better when someone knows what you're going through. The other person can help you think of ways to make the situation better.

It helps to talk about what's wrong, but be sure to talk together about good things, too. Paying attention to the good stuff (especially during sad times) can help turn your mood in a positive direction.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2016

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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