Traumatic experiences, a sense of loss, feelings of guilt, sadness, hopelessness, anger, numbness and avoidance can lead to depression. It can be noticed in changes to the way you think, feel or behave. Your thoughts might become more negative and you may have upsetting thoughts about yourself, the future, the world and/or other people.

You might notice that you are more tearful, feel like crying, have lost your appetite or eat more than usual, find that you can’t sleep, have lost interest in sex, struggle to concentrate, or feel restless, agitated, frustrated or irritated with other people. You might also find it hard to ‘get going’, lack motivation, want to withdraw from activities with others, feel slowed down or lethargic, and find it hard to do things that you used to enjoy.

Some parents that we spoke to said that their child’s injury had had a negative impact on their work life, family life, and social life. Feeling unable to engage, or being unable to engage due to demands on your time (such as appointments at the hospital and caring for your injured child), mean that you might get less enjoyment and less sense of achievement in everyday life. You might also find that you spend more time worrying and focusing on what is upsetting.

“When I used to go shopping and things, I could feel that everyone knew what had happened and everyone thought I was a bad mother and ‘how could she let her eighteen month old get a cup of coffee in his hand’.”

Taking small steps to regain a sense of normality and become more involved in life outside of the hospital and your child’s care is important. It can help you to break the vicious cycle of depression. You might find this easier with the support of family members or close friends.

Sometimes people who are depressed have thoughts of suicide. It is important that you seek help and support if you experience these thoughts. Please speak to your GP. In an emergency, phone 999, attend your local A&E (Accident & Emergency) department, or contact the Samaritans for free on 116 123, if you ever find yourself in this situation.

You can also read more about low mood and depression on the NHS Choices website.