During COVID, parents have carried heavy burdens of stress and responsibility. Worrying about themselves but also watching their children struggle. There is a growing worldwide concern about depression and suicide among our youngest population. But the signs of depression in children can be different than those in teenagers and adults.

"Depression can rise as early as age 3," said Dr. Joan Luby.

Pandemic isolation, struggling with virtual schooling, and family-related stress all contributed to a rise in mental health concerns for children. According to Mental Health America, last year, over 2.3 million kids suffered with severe depression.

“The thing that we have to look for are age-adjusted manifestation of those symptoms," Luby said.

Symptoms of depression in youth include being persistently sad or irritable over several weeks, sleep disturbances, fatigue, no longer enjoying the things they use to enjoy, not being motivated to engage in activity, expressing negativity toward themselves or others, and discussing thoughts of death.

The key to helping children fight off depression --

"Parents to be very aware of their child’s emotional state," Luby said.

If you notice these signs in your child, get help immediately.

Also spend more time outside, take walks, play outdoor games and get them involved in social activities.

Depression may be more treatable early in life during a time of rapid brain development and developmental change. Early treatment can help to avoid relapses, personality and medical disorders later in life.