When a Parent Is Depressed: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family
by William R. Beardslee, MD
Depression spreads like a contagion through families, affecting everyone’s lives, especially children’s. The spouses of people with depression are several times more likely to become depressed themselves; their children are four to six times more likely.
Drawing from a comprehensive, long-term study of resilient children from depressed families, Out of the Darkened Room outlines a wide array of prevention strategies, from the family meeting to open and sustained communication on the subject of mental illness. Dr. Beardslee weaves together his own personal and clinical experiences with the emerging scientific research, the key theoretical concepts, and the steps families need to take in order to make sense of the illness.
This is the first book to look at depression as an illness that affects the entire family, not just the individual. Just as The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce tracked the impact of divorce on children, Out of the Darkened Room examines the long-term effects of parental depression.
Major depression is one and a half to three times more common among immediate family members than among the general population. Beardslee’s 20-year longitudinal study has established the accepted protocol for treating families struggling with a parent who is depressed.