Depression in Young People

Studies have shown that about 4% of children or young people aged 5-16 are depressed or anxious at any one time.

80,000 children in the UK have severe depression, which means many more will have mild or moderate depression (all of which should have treatment and support).

I would suggest your child is assessed by a psychiatrist if you are concerned about the below symptoms (they do not have to have them all in combination):

  • Low mood which has been fairly consistent for at least 2 weeks
  • Poor sleep, waking early by 2 hours or more, struggling to get to sleep or waking a lot in the night.
  • Significant changes in their appetite which last for a couple of weeks
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of energy or motivation
  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Not appearing to enjoy themselves like they used to
  • Giving up on hobbies and interests
  • Self harming
  • Talking of life not being worth living
  • Feeling awful about themselves
  • Reduction in their self esteem
  • Guilty feelings
  • Feeling hopeless about their future
  • Being increasingly irritable
  • Being tearful
  • Decrease in their academic performance
  • Increasing anxiety
  • Panic attacks

As stated earlier there are differing severities of depression.

If someone has a mild depressive episode they have less of the above symptoms and are able to keep going with their daily life. As it develops into moderate depression, more of the symptoms develop and managing normal functioning becomes harder. By the time they reach severe depression, they have most of the symptoms and are really struggling to get on with their day.

I would suggest accessing help from a psychiatrist with any of these severities as treatment can be given to help prevent the symptoms worsening, to lead to recovery and to prevent relapse in the future.

It is also very important to access help if the young person is having episodes where their mood goes very high at times. I have seen young people who have episodes of low mood and then switch to being over excited, they talk too quickly, they may say thoughts race and they might do some reckless things. If this occurs, they need an assessment from a psychiatrist for bipolar disorder.

It is so important to get help for young people with depression or bipolar disorder as suffering with these conditions is at times like being tortured and treatment can prevent a reduction in functioning and academic attainment, prevent them from losing relationships, as well as save lives. Without treatment a small proportion of young people might go on to develop psychotic depression, where they become quite paranoid that people want to harm them, they start hearing voices and they truly believe others would be better off without them.

Depression is treatable but it takes time for medication to take effect and getting treatment sooner rather than later, may prevent the need for medication and certainly avoid considerable suffering and risk.

Below are written comments from feedback from recent young people who have been seen by her in her clinic:

As always Dr Hayley listens, is empathetic, encouraging and non-judgemental and gives sound professional advice. Thank you.
Dr H has made a lasting improvement on both my daughters’ states of mind and their approach and outlook to life. I can not rate her services highly enough.
Dr Hayley was incredibly thorough, supportive and engaged. My daughters confidence with the process soared and throughout the 2.5 hour process. I am profoundly grateful that expertise and care exists in professionals like Dr Hayley. She is life-changingly good.
Very friendly and helpful.
Very early in our treatment but Dr Hayley has already made a huge improvement to our daughter and her health.
Dr Hayley she is a amazing person, very caring, patient and helpful
An excellent doctor who is thorough and non-judgemental and takes a collaborative approach.
Thank you so much. Straight forward. Caring. & already actioning a plan. I’ve recommended you to two people already

We have received a very positive experience using Dr van Zwanenberg. We have felt listened to and supported without any judgement getting our daughters autism diagnosis. We would highly recommend.

She is so kind and supportive
Without Doctor Hayley I am certain I would not be alive today and she has been a massive help to me and my family.
Van Zwanenberg was able to see us much more quickly than we had expected for which we were very grateful, and we were touched by the level of care and personal attention we and our son were afforded when we met. The speed, depth and quality of the written follow up was impressive, too.
She is very helpful
Lovely Dr who was there to listen and help anyway possible. Full in detail and good natured with myself and my son. Got a lot from it and finally felt we were listened too. Lots of advice and next steps to follow.
Can’t recommend Dr van Zwanenberg enough for child ASD/ADHD assessment and follow up. She’s very empathetic & puts everyone in the family at ease.
Hayley was amazing with my daughter and she felt very reassured that she would help her get back to her old self!
We feel blessed that Dr van Zwanenberg was available when my daughter was referred. It was a relief for my daughter to be understood and feel that there was hope for getting better. Dr van Zwanenberg has been endlessly kind and provided the expertise needed so that we felt completely supported. Although we have not had to use it a lot she has been available for advice in between appointments, which again adds to our feeling of being well supported. We would wholeheartedly recommend her and know she would do the best for anyone who came to see her.
I was highly recommended to yourselves by someone who had previously been to see you. I will also highly recommend you also. My husband and I Felt very at ease during the whole process.
Dr van Zwanenberg was very friendly and put my son at ease so he felt comfortable to talk openly. She was very reassuring and seemed to understand him straight away.
Dr Hayley and her colleagues provide outstanding accessible compassionate and effective care for young people with emotional and mental health difficulties including ADHD. We can not thank her and her colleagues enough for the extraordinary difference they have made to my son’s well- being and helping him approach his full academic potential.
Dr hayley is always so positive and encouraging. She listens well, is very professional and is very calming. Always a positive and helpful experience. My daughter won’t speak to any therapists however she is happy to open up to Dr Hayley. Thank you.
We love Dr Hayley. She is the only person my daughter will engage with. She has been incredibly helpful in all kinds of ways, not only with medication but with diagnosis, advice and referrals. My daughter has come along way since seeing Dr Hayley
Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg is a very good doctor
Empathetic, caring!
Dr van Zwanenberg was fantastic, everything we’d hoped for.
Thank you, I am very grateful for your professional, committed and caring approach that underpins your clients’ healing of minds, developing self-confidence and sustainable growth as autonomous individuals in becoming. I hope you recognise you save lives and give hope with your calm faith that your clients will, and do get better.
Dr Hayley has made my child’s life happy again, and our families too. She has identified and helped him with his anxiety and adhd. Her practice is run with precision and care with excellent communication from Dr Hayley and her team. I can’t thank them enough.
Dr Hayley has been very good for my daughter – she has been kind, caring and has explained her condition to us very well. My daughter was really poorly but is now well on the way to a good recovery thanks to Dr Hayley’s treatment and care.
The doctor was really personable and helped to make my son feel comfortable, she asked great questions to elicit information to help the diagnosis and was very good at listening to our feedback
The level of care and communication from Hayley has been exceptional throughout and I have already strongly recommended her to several other parents.
Very kind and knowledgeable
Hayley was wonderful. She engaged with my son beautifully despite his almost constant hyperactivity and chattiness during the appointment! She has a lovely warm approach while remaining very professional and highly knowledgable. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.
Thank you so much for a faultless service. I’ve recommended you already to friends!

Very happy with Dr Hayley. She She’s very kind and makes us feel at ease within the session. listens carefully to problem and tries to recommend a right solution. She’s very prompt in replying emails or in event of asking for prescription, which itself has made me feeling better in the stressful situations we have been experiencing. I am very happy with her and would recommend to others. Thank you Dr Hayley.🙏🏼🌸

Dr Hayley is such a lovely and compassionate psychiatrist. She has transformed the life of my son. I am so grateful.
Very approachable and friendly style, felt that she really listened and put our anxious daughter at ease. Explained very clearly what the problem was and how we were going to deal with it as a team. Highly recommend.
Dr Hayley took an impressive amount of care in advance of our initial assessment appointment, to evaluate our son’s situation from many angles. We felt listened to and reassaured by her suggestions of strategies to help manage his symptoms. My son commented after the appointment that “She was vey kind and understood me”. We have also appreciated her quick responses to our questions outside of the appointment itself
Hayley has always been very accessible and helpful if we’ve needed to contact her between appointments.
Dr van Zwanenburg put my 10 year old at ease immediately which helped her open up
I really thought I was going to lose my daughter. Lose her to her own despair and potentially her own life. I searched for what seems like too long to find her the support, acknowledgment and treatment she needed. Finding Dr H was not just a life line but a true life changer. The care, understanding and treatment my daughter has received is truly outstanding. With Dr H’s consultation and understanding, my daughter has been able to reconcile her feelings of despair and inadequacy. I now have a confident, happy, social daughter who is starting university in the autumn and is looking forward to life. I can not thank you enough Dr H. Honestly, thank you so very much.
Dr Hayley was wonderful with my son. She put him at ease very quickly and consequently he was very happy to open up to her and talk freely. Thank you so much.
Thank you ever so much for a very thorough assessment.
So happy my son is finally getting the help he needs to free himself of a life of anxiety. Thank you.

Dr Hayley is always really professional but totally relatable and understanding. Would definitely recommend her to others.

Dr Hayley probably saved my son’s life. A great Doctor.

Dr Hayley is phenomenal – she has transformed our daughters life and we are grateful every day that we found Dr Hayley and got the help we so desperately needed.

Dr Hayley was very calming and listened carefully to my concerns
As always Dr Hayley was fantastic. She is always one step ahead and any additional admin requests etc are never too much bother. We will be sorry to lose her, as my daughter moves on soon to an adult psychiatrist now that she’s 18. I will be surprised if we can get such attentive service from any other psychiatrist. Many thanks indeed for your amazing support over the past few years.
Very happy with the service Dr Hayley has provided.
Dr Hayley is the only doctor that we trust to help us with our daughter’s mental health; more importantly, our daughter also trusts her. She genuinely cares. She talks to her, understands her and engages with her and us. She quickly identifies the problem and suggests realistic, pro active plans to tackle the particular issues at hand. She is always available for us to contact by phone and email (no matter how small the problem) and has telephoned us during the day and sometimes in the evening when the situation requires it. As parents, we have at times really struggled but she always manages to reassure us and we feel very lucky to have her as our doctor.
Dr van Zwanenberg’s tone, manner & approach was perfect for our child, she listened to us all and helped set wheels in motion. Thank you
Very good doctor.
Dr Hayley saved me from suicide and helped me turn my life around. She is the best!
Brilliant Doctor, I gave up and Dr Hayley picked me back up and got be back to myself. I feel like she actually cares and respects what I say.
Dr Hayley is very supportive and I would thoroughly recommend her through this organisation
When dealing with a person with mental illness it is essential that the patient feels that they are being believed by the Doctor who provides the treatment. Dr van Zwanenberg is able to build trust and rapport and is sympathetic, understanding and non judgmental in her approach.