Clinical Depression can be a debilitating thing for any child to deal with, having major impacts on their education from a young age. With the tailored approach offered at Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres, children are given a second chance at progressing through the education system in a way that’s more manageable for them.
Children who attend the Whytecliff programs face a variety of learning and life challenges, with many suffering from mild or more severe depression which has often prevented them from thriving in school and limited their chances at high school completion.
How Whytecliff Can Help Kids With Clinical Depression
Whytecliff offers the BC Ministry of Education accredited curriculum leading to a British Columbia Certificate of Graduation. Whytecliff also incorporates the new BC Curriculum’s intellectual, personal, and social-emotional proficiencies, with a special emphasis on youth development as well as positive mental health and wellness.
Whytecliff is designed to promote positive mental health, rather than treat serious emotional challenges. At the same time, our positive approach is highly effective in reducing or even eliminating clinical depression. Whytecliff’s model of Positive Youth Development reflects a deep understanding of complex neurophysiology incorporated within a simple, gentle approach. Though subtle, it holds profound impacts for children who struggle with depression.
The key ingredients include:
– A physical environment that is warm, cozy, and safe where a child can feel comforted and relaxed;
– An emotional environment that is gently positive and welcoming;
– The right staff with deep listening skills who work to care for each child as they want to be cared for;
– A therapeutic learning community where children have a sense of belonging and experience being cared for, appreciated, and respected;
– The right curriculum that places just enough on each child’s plate that they can be successful with small goals for each day (so that each child receives a boost of dopamine on completion and begins to feel good again);
– Fun physical and community activities to naturally build serotonin and increase physiological and emotional balance.
At Whytecliff our self-directed and self-paced learning approach (concentrating on one or two courses at a time) allows children to proceed in accordance to their particular skills and challenges they face. Our warm, caring, and competent staff are attuned to children’s needs and abilities and are able to identify when a student becomes confused or begins to struggle. With our low student to staff ratio of 5 or 6 to 1, children are able to receive the emotional and practical support they need to be successful.
According to Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.,
Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.
To diagnose clinical depression, many doctors use the symptom criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
Symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in day-to-day activities, such as work, school or social activities.
Clinical depression can affect people of any age, including children. However, clinical depression symptoms, even if severe, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.