In this fast paced world titles often work to catch our attention, and to draw us into written content. A recent article titled “Xanax ‘helps me be a better mom’“, posted on CNN, did just that to me today. The article discusses how parents are often more prone to depression and anxiety than other populations, and suggests that this particular issue is grossly under discussed in the world of mental health. The added concern with mental health and parents? The difficulties that their children are faced with:
“”Depression…can have serious biological, psychological, behavioral, and social consequences, especially on children who rely on a parent for caregiving, support, and nurturance,” according to “Depression in Parents, Parenting and Children,” published in 2009 by the National Research Council. It’s associated with poorer physical health, especially in infants, difficult temperament and aggression, lower cognitive performance, and higher rates of anxiety and depression. Sixteen million children are living in households with a depressed parent, so there are an enormous number of young lives at stake.”
While not entirely a new topic, I agree that parental depression is often underexplored in educational settings. I don’t recall discussing it extensively in my courses. This might not be the case in practice settings. For example, in my placement as a school social work intern, we often reviewed the parents mental history and current status when conducting biopsychosocial assessments to determine where a child’s difficulties might be coming from. We also often referred parents to therapy outside, and stressed this might assist the child. However, it is obvious that parental depression needs more attention, especially in advocating for a move away from medication usage. This article highlights the importance of this fact with mental health professionals, reminding the reader that medication isn’t the only option and that it is not suggested without concurrent psychotherapy. Now if only the insurance companies would follow suite.
Written By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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