From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Depression

To recognize depression, it’s important to know the signs.

Apr 01, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Depression

Apr 01, 2022

Depression is a mental illness that afflicts adults and children. About 1 in 5 teenagers experiences symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other emotional health issues. 

To understand the difference between feeling sad and being depressed, you and your child can become familiar with the signs of the mental illness, like feeling disconnected from family, friends, and daily life and having difficulty sleeping or eating.

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of books, articles, and tips that make starting a conversation with your child about depression easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

These books and articles feature stories of children exposed to or experiencing mental illness, and can help foster a discussion about depression in your household.

For more quick tips and book recommendations, sign up for our Scholastic Parents newsletter!

Articles About Depression

I Had Depression,” in Scholastic Choices magazine, profiles three children ages 17 to 20 who’ve had their own battles with depression and sought treatment. Now, they are dedicated to being advocates for young adults going through the same thing. 

Jordan’s story of feeling “caged” without an outlet for his anger; Sammy’s obsessive-compulsive behavior tied to academic pressures; and Kenidra’s experience with self-harm all share a common theme: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and there are ways to get help.

The article concludes with a list of common mental health diagnoses: bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You Are Not Alone,” from Scholastic Action magazine, shares former gymnast Hannah Lucas’ depression journey, from symptoms to diagnosis, and the therapy that ultimately kick-started her healing process. Lucas’ brother Charlie, a coder, supported his sister by creating an app that alerts five contacts when you’re not feeling well. More than 70,000 people have downloaded the free notOK app since its creation. 

Books About Depression

These books for teens offer situations and characters your child can relate to. 

The Beautiful Lost is a road trip story of a different kind from New York Times best-selling author Luanne Rice. Maia and Billy, each struggling with emotional health issues, take off on a search for Maia’s mother up the East Coast. Along the way, they share their stories and secrets. It’s a sweeping story about outrunning your past — and what can happen when you reach your destination.

The Bridge is an honest and powerful look inside the minds of two teenagers contemplating suicide. Aaron and Tillie meet on the George Washington Bridge, both prepared to jump. Aaron is gay, and struggles with depression and loneliness. Tillie suffers from feelings of inadequacy. The book unfolds as a butterfly effect showing the outcomes of their potential decisions, with an emphasis on how their loved ones are affected.

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on depression and other must-discuss topics. If you’re planning to talk with your child about other complex topics and seek tips or book recommendations, visit our Tough Topics hub. You’ll find a wealth of advice from Scholastic editors to help you navigate challenging conversations thoughtfully.

For instance, get tips on talking to your child about: 

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