by Vishnuprasad on  August 24, 2015 at 12:57 PM Health In Focus
 Preventive Interventions in Routine Clinical Practice Suggested for Parental Depression
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 depression.

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 behavioral disorders and improve children's health-related quality of life.

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 Detail

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 intervention.

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 Detail

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 minutes each.

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

Source: Medindia

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