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Talking About Depression with Your Child

Should I Tell My Child About Her Depression Diagnosis?

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Updated October 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Answer: Whether you should tell your child about her depression diagnosis is not something that has a clear right or wrong answer. You, the parent or guardian, must determine what is best for your child.

Many believe that talking about your child's depression with her will comfort her -- she will know that her symptoms are part of a disorder, and not because she is "bad" or "abnormal."

Knowing that she has depression may also encourage her to take treatment seriously and to work toward recovery, as she would if she had any other illness.

These are all factors to consider when weighing your decision. Again, you know your child best.

If you choose to discuss her depression with her, do so on an age-appropriate level and keep it as positive as possible. That last part may sound like an oxymoron. Depression...positive? The truth is that there are many people who have struggled with depression and have gone on to live happy and successful lives. Try to find such success stories in movies, books and even in reports of personal experiences of everyday people. You can start right here on About.com:

Sources:

G.S. Truant, M.D. J.G. Lohrenz, M.D. "Basic Principles of Psychotherapy I. Introduction, Basic Goals, and the Therapeutic Relationship." American Journal of Psychotherapy. Winter 1993 47(1): 8-19.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Depression
  4. Who's at Risk?
  5. Age Groups
  6. Child Depression
  7. How to Explain Depression to a Child
  8. Should I Tell My Child About Her Depression Diagnosis?

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