Depression Screening Day is October 9th
youngest son comes into your room at 6:00 a.m. to let you know
that his big sister is having cookies and soda for breakfast.
Meanwhile, your seven-year-old has been up all night with a
stomach bug. And thus your day begins.
is understandable, and even normal, for most parents to feel
stressed and overwhelmed some of the time. But if you have
been feeling sad or empty; lost pleasure in ordinary activities;
have unexplained aches or pains—and have been experiencing
these symptoms for more than two weeks—then you may have clinical
help those parents who may be suffering, National Depression
Screening Day (NDSD) will break the silence about parental
depression and introduce the first national awareness campaign
on the impact of depression on families and children.
campaign, a collaborative effort of NDSD’s parent organization,
Screening for Mental Health (SMH), and Children’s Hospital
Boston, encourages depressed parents to talk about their illness
with their children. A recent study by Children’s Hospital
has shown that breaking the silence and discussing parental
depression with one’s children strengthens the family unit
and its individual members.
addition to the parenting campaign, NDSD will offer free, anonymous
screenings for depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic
stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder at 2,000
public sites, 500 colleges, and 5,000 primary care offices
across the country on October 9, 2003. Anyone is welcome to
attend in order to learn more about these treatable disorders
and find out how to get help.
find a site near you, visit the SMH website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org/locator/NDS-Dmap.htm or
call 1-800-520-NDSD (6373).
depression affects more than 19 million Americans each year,
most commonly affecting those in their prime parenting years,
between the ages of 30-44. Parenting can be challenging in
good health, but even more challenging when a parent or parents
impact on families is important and timely. So many families
have experienced sustained and heightened anxiety since 9/11
due to job loss, personal losses and the challenges of family
life in the military through wartime. We hope National Depression
Screening Day can help parents and their children understand
that depression and related disorders are treatable, and seeking
help will contribute to leading healthy and productive lives,” says
Douglas G. Jacobs, MD, executive director of SMH and an associate
clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
tips for parents being treated for a mental disorder: Pay attention
to your parenting and make sure your illness doesn’t disrupt
your children’s lives, make sure your children continue to
go to school, encourage your children’s participation in outside
activities (community, sports and religious activities), encourage
their relationships with peers and important adults in their
lives, make sure your children understand that it is not their
fault that their parent or parents are ill and that they are
receiving treatment to get better and be prepared to talk more
than once. It often takes time for families and children to
process and understand this sensitive subject.#
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