Millions of Children are Affected by Parental Depression

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mother and Father depression can take a risky rate on kids, and the whole family should be involved in depression concern, according to a recent report.
The new report is about how parental depression affects children -- and what to do about it.
Parental Depression Affects Kids
The new report traces the impact that parental depression may have on children -- starting even before birth.
Older children and teens may experience stress from a depressed parent.
The risks to children differ depending on the child's age, notes committee member William Beardslee, MD, of the psychiatry department at Children's Hospital in Boston.
Depression saps energy, which can make it harder for patients to seek help.
The new report calls for a family focus in treating parental depression that includes parenting skills and attention to children's well-being.
"It's critical to look at the whole family," says Field, who studies parental depression. She notes that when a parent is depressed, the children will often become depressed, and then the parent gets even more depressed. The committee members want parental depression care to be available in several different settings -- not just at mental health clinics or in specialists' offices.
"We feel very strongly that we want to mainstream depression treatment," England says.
The new report also recommends making policy changes and prioritizing research on parental depression.


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