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Parental Depression May Affect Childhood Development

Child lying down on parent's lap looking depressed


According to a new study funded by the Welsh government, children that live with a parent that has depression are more likely to also develop depression and not achieve educational milestones. Information on children born in Wales from 1987 to 2018, as well as their parents, was used in the study.

The researchers found that living with a parent with depression is detrimental to a child’s outcome, but having a parent that has had a history of depression, even prior to the birth, increases the risk of depression and lowers the educational attainment of the child. The highest level of childhood depression risk was associated with exposure to a mother that had depression both before and after the birth of the child.

The risk of failing school exams was highest when the child was exposed to either a mother or father (or another stable male figure) with a history of depression, both before and after the child’s birth. These results suggest that exposure to a chronically depressed parent(s) is important in determining if the child will develop depression and have trouble with schoolwork.

Other findings included: having no father figure in the child’s life resulted in a higher risk of childhood depression and poorer results in school, and having a father with depression was associated with poorer results in school.

Depression is an issue that impacts the entire family, not just an individual. Taking a whole-family approach to addressing mental health will help ensure positive outcomes for both parents and children in the long term.

5 Top Tips to Finding Your Next Doctor

1 Keep an Open Mind! Healthcare has come a long way. Today, you have access to practitioners that branch outside of traditional medicine and aim to identify the root causes of conditions while using alternative treatments that may help you get the relief you need. Just because it’s not a pill, doesn’t make it pseudoscience.

2 Build Your Health Care Team. There is no one doctor that can be the be-all-end-all for your health needs. Be sure to have a team of practitioners with different “lenses” and areas of expertise who will treat the root cause and not just the symptom(s).

3   Environment Influences Healing. Health is multi-factorial. Your mental and emotional environment plays a pivotal role in your healing potential. Your doctors and their staff should create an office atmosphere filled with positivity so you can get the most out of your care.

4 Your Story Matters.  Before you begin any treatment, be sure to have a comprehensive consultation to discuss your health concerns. Find practitioners who welcome questions and will take the time to listen and treat you with respect.

5 Report of Findings. When it comes to our health, we often make decisions without understanding the risk versus benefits. Knowledge is an important part of the healing process and is essential to make conscious, informed health decisions. Find practitioners who take the time to explain their exam findings and the recommendations for treatment in ways that make sense to you.

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