Back to School Blues Can Become Depression for Some Kids

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Another new school year gets underway on Monday. While plenty of kids will tell you they're not quite ready to start studying again, for some students that 'back-to-school dread' is developing into serious medical concerns.

"More belly pains, more headaches, more whinny behavior particularly with younger kids," Dr. Bobby Jain said. "More trouble with sleeping and clingy behavior."

Those are just some signs of back to school depression.

As a child psychiatrist, Dr. Bobby Jain, says he talks to about 4 to 5 kids each week who dread this time of year.

But not all kids get the back to school blues.

"School is a fun thing because it helps you learn and helps you get smart," First Grader, Lexi Sestric said.

"I'd rather be at school more than day care," Fourth Grader, Gage Kemp said.

Her son may be excited for class, but Trish Kemp understands why some children dread school.

"I grew up hating school," Kemp said. "Every year I would get nervous, but I'm glad my son is excited about school."

Dr. Jain says fear of fitting in and an increase in school work is what gives many kids the blues.

"I think this is becoming more and more a problem," Jain said. "I work mostly with children who have anxiety and behavioral problems and when the school year begins it becomes more exacerbated. But this is also an ongoing problem with kids that don't normally have any anxiety problems."

Kemp and her friends take steps to make sure their kids aren't too anxious.

"We started two weeks early getting him to sleep early," Kemp said. "Over the whole summer we've been reading and going to the library. Making sure he's on his game to begin the 4th grade."

"I think as far as kids go, you have to be upbeat and positive," Mother, LaRonda Sestric, said. "I think positive reinforcement with children will maybe help them have a better outlook."

Even if that doesn't help, there's good news.

"Usually they're able to get over it by the second or third week," Dr. Jain said. "If they continue to have trouble with homework, anxiety and things like that, then it's better to talk to a school counselor."