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Evaluation of a Current Child Health Issue - Essay Example

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Childhood depression is a serious mental health condition which can potentially have long term effects on a child’s (Northen, 2004). This essay will critically analyse current health promotion interventions aimed at supporting children with depression and how these impact on child care and educational practice…
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Evaluation of a Current Child Health Issue
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Evaluation of a Current Child Health Issue

Depression, another emotional disorder, is also on the rise with young people with at least 2 per cent of children under 12 and 5 per cent of teenagers suffering from depression (op.cit.). Depression is associated with “feelings of extreme sadness” (NHS, 2010, para.6) which not only last for long periods of time, but is also recurrent and may further develop into suicidal tendencies (ibid). Brent and Birmaher (2002) noted that depression in both children and adolescents is not always demonstrated by sadness, but can take the form of irritability, boredom and the inability to find pleasure. Younger adolescents may show more anxiety-related symptoms, clinging behaviours, unexplained fears and physical symptoms, while older adolescents may experience a greater loss of interest and pleasure and also have more morbid thinking (Kalb & Raymond, 2003; Mondimore, 2002). Lewinsohn et al. (1998) found that nearly 89% of depressed adolescents reported disturbances in sleep. With younger children in the early childhood stage, depression is manifested by “masked” symptoms such as a complaint of stomach ache or aggression (Carlson & Cantwell, 1980; Hazel, 2002; Luby et al., 2003). These symptoms are fairly common in children, so it is not usually identified as a depressive symptom. However, when young children have these symptoms and are also seen to be irritable, bored or not finding pleasure, especially in play which is inherently fun, then they may present symptoms of early childhood depression (Brent and Birmaher, 2002). The difficulty with reaching a clear diagnosis of depression at this stage is that young children are perceived to be developmentally too immature to experience the effects of such a heavy emotion (Stalets & Luby, 2006). On the other hand, studies have shown that in fact children at this stage are far more emotionally sophisticated than they are given credit for (Denham et al., 2002; Denham et al., 2003; Saarni, 2000; Lewis et al., 1992; Lewis et al., 1989). Depression in very young children results in experiencing complicated emotions such as guilt and shame (Luby et al., 2009) and as younger children “mask” their depression it can be harder to identify a need early on. Some children who are depressed may actually avidly participate in activities with others such as singing and dancing and even exaggerate their actions. This makes diagnosis even harder and early intervention difficult. Depression can develop from a combination of different factors (risk factors) such as genetics, physiological, environmental and socio-economic factors such as parent’s unemployment , sickness and large families in small houses, bullying of peers or abuse from adults (Northen, 2004). If these risk factors are already present in the child’s life then significant life changes such as a death of a significant other, parental divorce and other tragedies will greatly increase the likelihood of childhood depression. One particularly important factor that affects a child’s likelihood of developing depression is the quality of their relationship with their family. Brofenbrenner’s Ecological model (1979) explains that family is part of the child’s microsystem and the primary providers of the child’ ... Read More
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