Childhood depression is on the rise, but we must be wary of misdiagnosis | Ewan Gillon

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Social pressures are fuelling the rise of mental health problems in children but we must ensure they are not wrongly diagnosed due to anxious parents

Foot shot of child playing hopscotch.

Twenty years ago depression and other mental health disorders in children were almost unknown and overlooked. Many physicians doubted the existence of depression in children because they believed children lacked the mature psychologic and cognitive structure to experience such problems. Depression in children has always been a difficult topic for society, and perhaps even healthcare professionals, to comprehend. Today, however, it is a stark reality with the fastest rate of increase in depression among young people; research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) shows that 80,000 children in the UK are estimated to suffer from severe depression, including 8,000 below the age of 10.

I have noticed a significant rise in the number of children, as young as six, referred to…

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