Category Archives: Childhood Depression


A List Far Too Long, from Boston Globe

This post made my heart ache — remembering what it was like trying to find the right therapists for my sons — and then figuring out how to pay for their care. Truly, as the author points out, parity for … Continue reading

Children Affected by War, New Psychological Intervention Program Shows Promise – Medical Daily

This dramatic improvement for traumatized youth in one of the worst places for children on the planet, Congo, is testimony to the power of psychotherapy to help someone heal from abuse and neglect. I can’t tell you how much this cheers me to read. Think about what it might mean for trauma exposed children here in the U.S. and everywhere to receive such concerted mental health care.

“This is the first time that such a therapy has been used in this way. Although Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy has the greatest evidence for its effectiveness in treating child victims of sexual violence in the West, to date no study has ever adapted it for use in developing countries affected by the twin evils of war and sexual violence,” O’Callaghan said.

The research team along with Congolese counselors encouraged girls to draw out pictures of their most traumatic events. The sessions also included relaxation techniques, mental imagery techniques and tips to cope with bad memories.

“The dramatic reduction in trauma, depression and anxiety, conduct problems and anti-social behavior shows that this kind of therapy is very effective in treating war-affected children who have been exposed to rape and sexual violence. In addition to the statistical results of the therapy many of the girls attested to how the intervention helped reduced their terrible nightmares, disturbing flashbacks and suicidal thinking. For me, that was the most rewarding part of our work in the DRC,” O’Callaghan said.

The research team also helped 50 boys reduce stress and anti-social behavior by psychological intervention program.

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast and an NGO World Vision were behind this intervention method.

via Children Affected by War, New Psychological Intervention Program Shows Promise – Medical Daily.


Happy Mother’s Day! The Rewards of ‘Recovery Parenting’

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One totally unexpected reward of this way of life I’ve named ‘recovery parenting’ came to me a few weeks ago while having lunch with my youngest son “Sammy” and his girlfriend of three years, a lovely girl I’ll call “Lori.” … Continue reading


NEW! Find out what’s true about child and teen depression from the National Institute for Mental Health. Also, great guidelines for getting treatment. Click here to read.

The Thoughtful Parent Blog: “The Tangled Web of Depressed Moms and Our Children”

I am a guest author today on the The Thoughtful Parent Blog…here is a piece of my post, and a link to the rest…

“Most people are aware that depression runs in families, but our knowledge tends to stop there. Myrna Weissman is a psychiatric epidemiologist who has spent three decades trying to find out exactly how this occurs, conducting research at Columbia University and New York Psychiatric Institute. “If the mother is depressed and just one other close relative in the family has a history of depression we know the children are likely to show up with either anxiety or depression by the time they’re fifteen,” Myrna Weissman told me in an interview for my book, A Lethal Inheritance.”

via The Thoughtful Parent: Guest Author: Victoria Costello.

When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology

Q: In your book you mention the early signs of mental illness that you missed in your son Alex. Even as a baby, you write that he seemed different. What signs can parents watch for?

A: Some of the early signs resemble those linked to autism, for which parents are already told to monitor their toddlers and preschool children. Newer research is now establishing the existence of signals that can indicate a higher risk for schizophrenia — particularly if the child also has a family history of a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia and some types of bipolar disorder or suicide.

Some developmental signs include sitting, walking and talking later. The child may also have a preference for solitary play at 4 — usually a very sociable age — something that was very true of Alex.

In an older child, social withdrawal, anxiety, antisocial behavior and acts of self-harm are also associated with a higher risk.

There are also risk factors for schizophrenia in genetically vulnerable children over which parents can have at least some control, such as maternal malnutrition and depression; bullying and child maltreatment; and cannabis smoking by adolescents. No one or two of these signs should be seen as red flags. Only in combination do they merit parental concern.

READ the full interview on Psych Central:

via When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology.


New Study: Should your toddler be in therapy? – report from Child Psychology and Parenting Blog

This is exciting news about a study showing successful results from early intervention with psychotherapy tailored for at risk toddlers and young children! From the Child Psychology and Parenting Blog… This month the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics … Continue reading


Psychiatric News Alert: Irritable Youngsters May Be Depressed

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What’s interesting in this study of over 2500 children in the U.K. is the identification of irritability as a predecessor or early sign/symptom of depression in a child or teenager, and the finding that its origin is probably genetic. Please … Continue reading

How to Give Your Child the Gift of Mental Wellness –

Imagine you are the mother in this scenario. For several months now, your 12 year-old daughter has lost her sunny nature, and often seems sad and withdrawn. Her teacher tells you she’s stopped participating in class and appears tired. You fear she’s becoming depressed because you’ve had bouts of the blues yourself-as did your mother (or, perhaps, your father) before you. No one in the family has ever received mental health treatment, so the idea of doing something about it (for either you or your daughter) feels foreign. You wonder, wouldn’t that be weak, and, besides, what will people say?

via How to Give Your Child the Gift of Mental Wellness – Yahoo! Voices –

Mayo Clinic Issues Top Warning Signs of a Possible Mental Disorder in Child or Teen

The Mayo Clinic with funding from the feds (SAMHSA) has weighed in on the issue of early recognition and intervention for possible symptoms of mental disorders by issuing a list of warning signs that should be seen as red flags by parents –Culled from a Mayo study of 6000 child/teen cases of various disorders.

Here’s the list….

If your child has any of these 11 warning signs, he or she may have a mental health disorder and should be referred to treatment as soon as possible:

  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for two or more weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill themselves, or making plans to do so
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Involved in multiple fights, using a weapon, or wanting badly to hurt others
  • Severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt the teenager or others
  • Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to lose weight
  • Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts a teenager in physical danger or causes school failure
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Drastic changes in behavior or personality

According to Mayo…”This data substantiates what we already knew, that there are warning signs of significant mental illness, but children and adolescents aren’t getting help because health care providers don’t share the same language,” said Dr. Abigail Schlesinger, medical director of outpatient behavioral health services at Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh.