Getting Teens Treatment For Their Depression Is Improving Their Parents’ Mental Health, Too

Depression is a serious issue among teenagers, with over 10 percent of adolescents suffering from a major depressive disorder. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 12.8 percent of teens experience depression, with many of these children being girls. While some parents have trouble spotting depression symptoms, others have taken it upon themselves to improve their children’s mental health.

A recent study has shown that this does a lot for both parties. By getting their children treated for issues like depression, they are improving their own mental health in the process.

Support from parents can be vital for depressed children, lowering their risk of suicide and self-harm and improving their overall happiness. For teenagers, treatment can vary from medication to therapy and counseling. When they begin getting this care, it can improve their mental health, give their parents more peace of mind, and improve familial relations.

A study conducted by psychiatry professor Myrna Weissman revealed that children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop depression themselves. In accordance with this, she also determined that when mothers get the treatment they need, their children are happier too.

“Depression is a family affair,” Weissman said. “We know that there’s high rates of depression in the offspring of depressed mothers.”

To see if the opposite was also true, Kelsey Howard and her adviser, Mark Reinecke, went through documents from a 2008 study about depressed teenagers. In the study, information about the teenagers’ parents was also included. It revealed that when their child was suffering, a quarter of the parents were experiencing symptoms of depression as well.

As their child’s mental health improved over the course of treatment, the parents reported feeling better too. “We found that parental depression symptoms improved over the course of the study,” Howard said during the American Psychological Association’s annual conference.

According to NPR, Howard wasn’t surprised by their findings.

“We’re social creatures. We exist in families, we exist in social networks. And a lot of our well-being, a lot of our highs and lows might come from these relationships.”

Our bonds with our loved ones can affect us deeply, and their suffering can cause us pain as well. This is obvious when you look at parents who have strong relationships with their children. When their children are experiencing feelings of hopelessness, they feel just as powerless to help them. Hopefully, with proper care and communication, parents and children can get the mental health care they need.

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