Childhood depression and suicide

Childhood depression and suicide

The concept of childhood depression It is formed as such in 1987 as a set of symptoms that forms a syndrome. It is established that it can exist at all ages and at least to be able to talk about it, the symptomatology should last about a month. This article will address the factors of depression and child suicide. Without a doubt, a delicate issue but of high importance.

"When you feel sadness or disgust for something that has happened remember the good things and never lose the illusion for yourself ... "


  • 1 The clinic for childhood depression
  • 2 Risk factors of depression
  • 3 Evaluation of childhood depression
  • 4 Suicidal behavior goes through four phases

The clinic for childhood depression

  • It affects different aspects (cognitive level, affective level, motor level).
  • It is customary to appreciate both the beginning and the end.
  • Affects mood: the child feels sad, cries easily, is unable to find enjoyment in different things that used to make him smile ...
  • In the cognitive aspect we appreciate that your cognition, your thoughts are distorted, seems to have altered the ability to understand and the ability to pay attention.
  • In the psychomotor aspect they tire without reason and their activity descends by leaps and bounds.
  • Psychosomatic aspects are also perceived: sleep disturbance, eating disorder, loss of appetite, headache, vomiting, bedwetting or abdominal pain.

Prevention becomes very difficult due to impediment in affecting their immediate environment.

Risk factors of depression

  • A disorganized family environment.
  • Depressions of parents.
  • Psychiatric illnesses of the parents.
  • School and social adverse situations.
  • Organic or psychological pathologies in the child.

Throughout history, different models have tried to explain the infant depression. We can group them into two large blocks:

  1. Biological Model
  2. Psychological Model

The biological model says that childhood depression is caused by an alteration of neurotransmitters and the way of dealing will be by administering psychoactive drugs.

In the psychological model we can distinguish three currents:

  1. Psychoanalysis: Believes that depression is caused by the loss of an object. The object may be the self-esteem or death of a loved one.
  2. Behavioral: It is believed that childhood depression occurs due to lack of reinforcement.
  3. Cognitive: They postulate that the child becomes depressed because he has cognitive distortions regarding:
    • Itself
    • The world that surrounds it
    • The future

Evaluation of childhood depression

  • Psychophysiological tests
  • Psychological tests within which we highlight:
    1. Self-assessment scales such as CDI or BIRLENSON.
    2. Heteroevaluative scales to answer parents, other adults or even their own partners.
    3. Structured interviews such as DISC.
    4. Semi-structured interviews such as the POZNANSKI.

The concept of death in the child is gradually acquired. According Piaget, the concept of irreversible death the child does not acquire until 12 years. Childhood depression and suicide may be related. The child, if he is very young, not having the concept of death still clear, may think that death has a return.

The potentially suicidal child would have pathological ideas of death; They are children who think more about death than others. At a cognitive level they are much more unstructured, failures live more seriously than they really are, without finding alternative ways of solution.

Suicidal behavior goes through four phases

  1. Suicidal ideation.
  2. Threats
  3. Attempts (from very mild to very severe).
  4. Consummate suicide.

The frequency of consummate suicide is small below 14 years, but it exists. Many times it is the parents themselves who do not declare it as such. The impact for parents is terrible both for the fact itself and for the society that points them out. This causes them to often feel guilty and deny the fact of talking about accidents, which is less traumatic.

It is important to influence risk factors to prevent them. The symptoms of depression and child suicide should be taken into account. We highlight the following risk factors inherent in the child himself with regard to suicidal behavior:

  • Death concept.
  • Cognitive functioning (type of thoughts).
  • Depression.
  • Aggression, hyperkinesia.
  • Lack of communication.
  • Motivational.

The suicidal child has more variations in the concept of death, thinks more of it as a reversible phenomenon. The suicide boy live school failure as a phenomenon without solution. Their thinking capacity is limited and they have tunnel vision which makes it impossible for them to find viable alternatives. Thus, we must pay attention to all signs of depression and child suicide.

Some immediate motivations that cause child suicide may include revenge attempts, stop being a nuisance, abuse or abuse, any symptoms of family disturbance. Any negative early childhood experience can cause child suicide. The therapy to follow in the face of suicidal ideation is cognitive and if the family environment is harmful, the child should be separated from that disturbing environment.