In a recent study with children aged 12 to 17 who met the criteria for depressive disorder, many of their parents had failed to identify their symptoms as depression. Researchers believe that enhancing parents’ abilities to understand and recognize depression may help adolescents get treatment.
When substance abuse or family problems were involved, parents were better able to recognize depression. However, having good communication with their teenagers did not make parents better at identifying depression. Because parents often miss the symptoms of depression, doctors at Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia, recommend that alternative sources such as schools are important in the identification and referral of depressed adolescents. At least some adolescents appear to need adults other than their parents to help them receive needed mental-health services.
“Parental Identification of Depression and Mental Health Service Use Among Depressed Adolescents,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 41, 2002, pp. 296-304.
Published in ERN May/June 2002 Volume 15 Number 5