Do mental health conditions run in your family? It’s common for depression or bipolar disorder to exist across generations and relatives, appearing on various branches of a family tree. Research shows that many mental health conditions are inheritable. In fact, people with a family history of depression can be two to three times more likely to live with depression, compared to the general population.
A place to learn
At Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA), we focus on the families of people living with depression or bipolar disorder ("mood disorders"), equipping family caregivers with education and training so they can provide effective, constructive support to their loved ones.
Mood disorders affect everyone in a family, not only those with the diagnosis. Each family member should be able to have their needs identified and addressed.
In addition to passing along a higher likelihood of having a mood disorder, parents living with a mood disorder can find it hard to engage with their children, take care of household chores, do their work, and sometimes even to get out of bed.
Family caregivers risk wearing themselves out as they help their loved one seek treatment, manage the household and the family, and try to keep a roof over their heads.
Since our beginning, we have shared family stories to help caregivers feel like they are not alone, show that families can address mood disorders together, inspire hope, and dispel stigma. Each year, we add to our library of honest and inspiring accounts of families facing the challenges of mood disorders and suicide.
Transitioning from high school to college can be an exciting yet overwhelming time for many students and their parents. At this stage of life, college-bound teens may face new – or recurrent – mental health challenges. Parents can take proactive steps to promote mental wellness that help college-bound teens prepare for these challenges.
Healthy boundaries are essential for any caregiver supporting a loved one living with depression. Boundaries provide structure in relationships and ensure that everyone involved is respected and gets their needs met. By setting clear limits, you can prioritize your wellness while continuing to be a support for your loved one.
Trauma among teens is more common than you might believe. By the age of sixteen, approximately one-quarter (25%) of children and adolescents have experienced at least one traumatic event. As a caring adult, you have an important role to play in aiding them as they heal.
In part 2 of this series, we highlight the importance of the support network for both you as a caregiver and your loved one living with depression. Unlike a treatment team, this network consists of people within a community who provide support with emotional, spiritual, and/or practical challenges.