PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Depression: Helping A Parent

Clinical depression can affect any person at any time, and, let's face it, parents are people too. So, what can you do if you think your parent may be chronically depressed?

Depression often makes people neglect the things they have to do every day. Suddenly, your mother might not be able to get out of bed in time to make you breakfast before school, or your father just didn't feel up to attending your soccer game. Maybe your parent is still keeping up the normal routine, but it just seems to be harder for him or her to do it these days.

If your mother has recently had a new baby, she might also be showing some of these signs. There's a type of clinical depression called postpartum depression that moms often experience after giving birth.

If you think your parent might be clinically depressed, check the lists in Signs and Symptoms and Manic Depression. Depression is one of those things that parents and kids don't often feel comfortable talking about, but it's important to get beyond the awkwardness and get it out into the open. It's one of those times in life when you might have to act a little like an adult, even though you're still a kid.

If you feel like your parent won't listen to you, try to tell another trusted adult, such as a relative or even your school counselor, about what's been going on.

Here are some things that you or a trusted adult might want to bring up when talking to your parent about his or her depression:

  • You love him.
  • You want her to get better-for her sake AND yours.
  • This is not about blame.
  • This is not about calling anyone a "bad parent."
  • Doctors and therapists know a lot more about depression than they used to.
  • Treatment can really help a lot, but without therapy, things will probably stay the same or get worse.
  • Life can get better and easier for all of you once they face the problem and ask for help.
Once again, the sooner someone gets treatment, the sooner they can start feeling and acting like himself or herself again.

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