My student seems depressed? What should I do?

A concussion commonly causes emotional symptoms such as feeling sad, down, irritated or frustrated - particularly in adolescents. If a student has pre-existing mental health concerns, these may be exaggerated by a concussion.

Mental health changes in some students can be the result of physical changes in their brain associated with the injury itself. For others, not being able to go to school, participate in team sports, or attend social functions may lead to feelings of sadness and isolation. These emotional symptoms can interfere with recovery. Early intervention is key.

Students with a concussion should be closely monitored throughout the recovery period for behavioural changes such as withdrawing from others, acting out, and/or self harm. If you are concerned, you should contact the student’s parent or guardian.

A student with a change in their mental health might need additional resources such as a school counsellor, school psychologist or other community based mental health services.

Strategies that teachers can use to help support a student’s emotional well-being include:

  • Providing opportunities for socialization
  • Allowing the student to remove him/herself from situations they aren’t tolerating
  • Providing avenues for the student to express him/herself
  • Helping the student to access other school resources e.g. school counsellor or psychologist

More information on supporting a student’s emotional well-being is available in the Resources section.

Emotional symptoms can interfere with recovery—early intervention is key