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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is my 6 year old son suffering clinical depression?

    My six year old son is becoming increasingly withdrawn. He is not energetic as he once was. He doesn't fall asleep until 9.30pm most nights. I have been diagnosed with depression and receiving treatment for the last 15 years. I believe it is hereditry as others in my family suffer. I don't want him to go through hell as I did growing up. What can I do for him?
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  • Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    It is very difficult to answer your question with what you have written. There are a number of things that could explain what is going on with your son. They range from your concerns around depression to being a typical 6 year old boy not wanting to talk to his mother.

    It clearly sounds that you are concerned, and it does sound that it warrants a good investigation. I would suggest you speak to your local GP and ask for a referal for your son to see a psychologist. Depending on where you live there is often free treatment available via local Universities as well. While these free treatments are time restricted and narrow in focus they are provided by those with the highest of qualifications in the field.

    I wish you well

  • jtmadonna

    HealthShare Member

    Thank you Damien. I wasn't sure if it was possible to analyse and diagnose a child with depression. Is this a specialist field?

  • Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    It would be better if you could find a child psychologist, rather than a generalist as this would mean you are more likely to get an expert treament rather than a general one. http://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/ is a great place to start. There you can select the age of your son and his difficulties and choose where a psychologist is in relation to you.

    I would suggest you then speak to the psychologists listed to gauge how you and your son may get along. Seriously we are here to help, we want to talk to you. Then take any names you have left to your GP and get a referal (it will save you quite a bit).

    I hope that this has been helpful. Please contact me if you want any further assistance

  • cathy

    HealthShare Member

    When I was a very young child, probably the age of your son, I felt different at school. I did not make friends easliy. I do remember very clearly at the age of 9 - 10 visisting the child psychology or psychiatric unit at Melbourne University. That was the late ‘50’s, just to let you know it is not a new thing. I rememeber play therapy and talk therapy and art therapy. I enjoyed it because I got out of sport at school for a long time. But the downer was I frequently planned suicide. My primary and secondary schools were on a busy road. 
    I was very lonely at secondary school because the feeling of difference still persisted. I started nurse training and after 2 years attempted suicide. Over the next few years I had various diagnoses, the final and correct being bipolar disorder type 2 about 10 years ago. Since then I have been well cointrolled.  
    What I am saying is get your son seen by a professional so he can be treated and live an enjoyable life as we are all not only able to but also entitled to. That is mu belief anyway.
    If you are in Melbourne there are two schemes where you can get access to a psychologist. One may not apply to your son as it applies to people with chronic conditions and have a care plan. The other your GP does a Mental Health Assessment and you then see a psychologist. Some Bulk bill every client, with others they charge the full amount and you pay the difference. Your GP  will probably have a list of local psychologists. If you go this road it is worth making some phone calls if you need to watch your pennies as I do. 
    I wish you all the best and hope your son soon is on the road to a bright outlook.
    As I said I know what your son is going through at such an early age.
    Cheers,
    Cathy

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