Even if a child doesn’t yet know it himself, a mom knows when one of her kids is having a hard time. whether it’s strange thoughts, the blues, sudden social withdrawal, paranoia, or uncontrollable anger. These are some of the worries that keep us up all hours wondering what, if anything, we should do. To make things worse, it’s often difficult to get good answers to our nagging questions. Doctors don’t want to take the time or they dismiss our concerns as evidence of “helicopter parenting.” The brain research is hard to track, let alone make sense of. After dealing with my own family’s problems, I came to the conclusion that what is most needed is a 24/7 parent-focused source for evidence-based psychological information. It should do online what the parent-to-parent consumer movement is doing in many communities: offering support and relief for the tough job of loving a kid with a mental health challenge. This blog is a place to ask questions about difficult topics. You won’t get a diagnosis, but I will let you know what the latest science has to say about your child’s or perhaps your mental health issue and tell you about the best sources for more information and/or treatment options.
Take for example….teen depression. Many parents remain confused about the possible ties between antidepressants and teen suicides after an FDA warning was issued in 2003. The largest study looking into this link (TADS) showed in 2007 that by adding a form of talk therapy called CBT to antidepressant medication, teenagers improved the most and lessened their chance of suicidal thinking.
And then there is this fascinating finding from an ongoing Columbia University study: when depressed mothers of depressed children received effective treatment for their depression, a majority of the children also showed dramatic improvement—without receiving direct treatment. Depression is a family illness, so best treated as a family.