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If A Parent Is Depressed, Kids Need Help Too

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A recent report reveals if a parent is depressed, the children can also suffer. The report issued by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine calls for health and social service professionals the pay greater attention to the impact of parental depression in children.  

Rather than treating only the depressed adult, health-care and mental-health professionals should evaluate the fallout of depression on the entire family, particularly children and design treatment programs with everyone in mind.“To break the vicious circle of depression, we need to refocus our view of this illness through a broader lens that sees the whole, family, not just the individual with depression,” said committee chair and psychiatrist Mary Jane England, president of Regis College in Weston, Mass. “Our report describes a new vision for depression care that would provide comprehensive services not just to adults, but to their children as well. It will take significant policy changes to make this vision a reality, but the benefits warrant the effort.”

The report says about one in five U.S. parents experience depression annually. About 15.6 million children under 18 live with an adult who has had major depression in the past year.

While depressed parents don’t necessarily harm their children, deliberately or inadvertently, studies have show parental depression can increase the chances of children having health, emotional and behavioral problems.

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