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LDA’s Mental Health Committee fights stigma, provides support, educates the public, and advocates for individuals with learning disabilities who also struggle with mental health issues. This month we are focusing on depression.

Characteristics of Depression: 

  • Changes in eating patterns, sleeping patterns, energy levels, and inability to pay attention
  • Reduced pleasure and motivation to pursue rewards
  • Feeling sad or uninterested in things they enjoyed
  • Not wanting to do fun things
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Persistent sadness

Facts About Depression: 

  • 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have been diagnosed with depression
  • For children aged 3-17 years with behavior problems, more than 1 in 3 also have anxiety (36.6%), and about 1 in 5 also have depression (20.3%)
  • 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder
  • Diagnoses of depression and anxiety are more common with increased age

Strategies: 

  • Individuals with depression need to feel they are of value to others, so projects like community service or peer tutoring may help
  • Provide a curriculum of hope that includes positive materials, stresses talents, and encourages writing or drawing as an outlet
  • Incorporate upbeat music throughout the day
  • Provide opportunities for exercise
  • Provide a sense of belonging

Resources: