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This page provides you with information about depression in children and adolescents.

The Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is responsible for the treatment of depression in children and adolescents in Central Denmark Region.

What is depression?

Depression is a disorder that can strike anyone – adults, children and adolescents. If you are depressed, you have been feeling sad or just not very happy for a long time. You tire more easily and are unable to cope with the things you normally do. You often also think that you are no good at anything, and that nothing is fun anymore. You might also feel that life is no longer worth living.

We all have days when we feel sad and find that everything is boring. You can also have days when you do not think that you are particularly good at anything. But if these sad thoughts and feelings persist for a long time, you might be suffering from depression, which means that you need help.

I didn’t know what it [depression] was. I was just tired and I felt everything was tedious.
Mark, 15



Can you get well again?

What causes depression?

It is not known precisely why some adolescents suffer from depression while others do not. Research has shown that children and adolescents are at greater risk of suffering from depression if they:

  • Are related to a person with a current or previous history of depression
  • Have experienced other problems in their life. This may be serious illness or death
  • Have other difficulties, such as anxiety or difficulty concentrating
  • Tend to have negative expectations and always think the worst
  • Have been stressed for a long period and are exposed to more than they can cope with. 

There are generally several different reasons why you get a depression. Sometimes it is difficult to find any reason at all.

Symptoms of depression

There are various signs of depression. The number and nature of the symptoms of depression experienced vary from person to person. Here you can read about the different symptoms.

Sadness or bad mood

Loss of joy and interests

Less energy

Less self-confidence

Sense of guilt

Difficulty sleeping

Difficulty eating

Thoughts of death and suicide

Difficulty concentrating

Agitation and slow pace



Irritation and anger





Examination for depression

Samtale med behandler

Talk to a doctor or a psychologist

Treatment of depression



“I wanted my friend to come and see me. My parents helped me decide that the visits should be short. They also suggested some things we could do.”
Jesper, 14
Uformel samtale i psykiatrien bua



How do you know if your depression is passing?

Advice for children and adolescents who suffer from depression

Do some of the things that usually make you happy

Know your own limits

Dreng spiller playstation på psykiatrisk afdeling

Get some fresh air and eat healthily

Go to bed and rise at more or less regular times

“I was afraid that my friends would think I was playing truant if they saw me outside and I hadn’t been to school. It helped when my class teacher explained to them that we had agreed when I had to come to school.”
Signe, 13

Be open with your parents

Keep in touch with your closest friends

Write down the things you need to remember

What you need to remember

Use offers for children and adolescents with depression

Advice for relatives

What can parents do?

“If only we had discovered this sooner. Thinking back, we can see that he has been struggling for a long time. We thought mostly it was a sign of puberty when he kept withdrawing to his room. After all, when we asked him, he said everything was OK.”
- Parent of a boy with depression

Advice for parents

Text on this page updated December 2021 (version 1.03).

Author: Katie Powell, psychologist specialising in psychiatry, Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry. 

Most recently revised by: Merete Juul Sørensen, Senior Consultant at Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry.

Direct Link: www.en.dep1.ps.rm.dk