Parental depression has a
destructive impact on children's mental and physical health. A right
psychological approach is important in the treatment of the parental
A new study appeared on the
Scientific Research Publishing offers an evidence base for integrating
preventive actions for child mental health in routine clinical practice with
depressed adult patients.
The study analyzes the
effectiveness of two preventive interventions, Family Talk Intervention (FTI)
and Let's Talk about Children (LTC). These interventions were developed by the
Department of Child Psychiatry of Athens University Medical School at Aghia
Sophia Children's Hospital in collaboration with the Finnish National Institute
for Health and Welfare in Greece.
The results show that both
interventions will help to decrease self-reported and parent-reported children's
and improve children's health-related quality of
Researchers find that the FTI, in
which children are active participants in family meeting with their parents, is
faster in improving family functioning and children's outcomes compared to the
LTC that involves the parents only.
The researchers conclude that
rather than decreases in parents' depressive symptoms, potential improvements in parent-child relationships
, family functioning and social support perceived by
children will better explain positive changes in children's psychosocial
outcomes and health-related quality of life.
'Family Talk Intervention' in
The 'family talk intervention' is
an evidence-based program designed for treating parents with depression and
anxiety to foster resilience in their children and the family unit.
Experienced mental health
professionals, general practitioners, well-trained psychologists, social
workers, mental health nurses, and occupational therapists can implement this
The intervention starts with two
parent sessions that include taking personal and family history and
psycho-education regarding depression and resilience.
A separate session with every
child of the family follows. Children's family experiences and psychosocial
status are taken into note, and possible queries related to parental mental
illness are elicited in this phase.
In the planning session, parents
chat with the clinician how to respond to their children's queries, how to talk
about depression with the other family members and how to cope well with
possible family issues.
In the family session, parents put
mental illness into words and respond to children's queries with clinician's
help. In the end, the intervention is analyzed, and future plans are discussed
with the parent in a follow-up session.
Six sessions are implemented in a
family with an only child. The number of sessions increases based on the number
of kids in the family.
'Let's Talk about Children' in
The 'let's talk about children' is
an evidence-based procedure that trains professionals to have a well-framed
discussion on adult mental health settings, primary health care, and child
mental health with parents who experience mental illness about parenting and
their child's needs.
This intervention is mainly a
manualized discussion that is implemented with the patient and possibly his or
her partner to analyze children's status and to inform about ways that parents
can support their offspring.
The LTC aims to make this
conversation a necessary routine between parents and professionals where they
can assess the health improvements of children and how their parent's mental
problem is recognized by them.
In this way, the intervention
supports healthy parent-child relationships, promoting protective factors for
the child's well-being and improving parent's understanding of mental illness.
The minimum duration of this
discussion is 15 minutes. The discussion is also done in two sessions of 45
Parents are also given a self-help
book entitled "How can I help my children - A guide for parents with
mental health problems". Families are also assisted in the intervention,
in case that a need for other services emerges.
George Giannakopoulos, Chara Tzavara,
Gerasimos Kolaitis, Department of Child Psychiatry, Athens
University Medical School, Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece