Mental health of children may impact the mental health of their parents
This is interesting.
Research shows that teens suffering from depression may have an impact on their parents’ mental health.
A study carried out by Kelsey Howard, at Northwestern University, analysed data on depressed teenagers and found that when their treatment was successful in combating their symptoms the mental health of their parents improved too.
Northwestern’s research follows on from findings that there is a link between depression in mothers and future diagnoses of major depression in their teenagers. Now it seems that this link also works the opposite way around.
Howard told the Atlantic:
“It could be in how the family is interacting with each other: The kid is more pleasant to be around, the kid is making less negative statements, which can affect how other family members think.”
As a parent, I think part of the reason that there is an improvement in the parents' mental health coinciding with the improved mental health of their child is that a huge weight has lifted off them.
We always want our children to be happy and when they aren't we worry. Seeing your child struggle with mental health issues is a particularly stressful time for parents.
You're constantly wondering what they're thinking 'are they happy', 'did they bother to eat today' or the most concerning aspect of teenage depression 'have they self-harmed/do they intend to harm themselves?'.
Of course, when you see your child come out the other side of the tunnel, having beaten their demons you're going to feel relieved and happier.
This new groundbreaking research was presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association and could make significant changes in the way we view the genetic and biological factors of mental health.
If you're a parent with concerns or questions about youth mental health you can contact Shannon's Hopeline for support.