A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (June 14, 2017) has provided even more supporting evidence that learning problem solving skills can reduce the risk for depression among mothers of preschool children.
This was a peer-reviewed randomized clinical trial of 230 mothers with low level depressive symptoms whose children were enrolled in the Head Start program. After participating in a six-session cognitive behavioral program with an emphasis on initiating behavior changes these mothers’ depressive symptoms abated and did not recur in a one year follow-up. It was concluded that the intervention was effective in preventing depressive episodes.
Fifteen years ago, Dr. Martin Seligman spearheaded research on psychological interventions for depression prevention as opposed to simply treating depression. Other researchers followed. Meanwhile, a colleague of mine, Dr. Michael Yapko developed his own blend of cognitive behavioral therapy based on skills building. His inspiration coupled with my experience of treating children (and having my own) became the foundation for my book, Raising Depression Free Children (Hazelton, 2003), a self-help book for parents of young children. He endorsed that book, along with a pioneer in the treatment of depressed children, Dr. David Fassler.
You parents who are struggling with mild to moderate depression or run a risk for depression due to family history or prior episodes, it is vital to learn skills to help reduce your risk and that of your children.
As a personal note, I wrote Raising Depression Free Children out of concern for my children given my own history of depression, and consistently practiced the skills I taught. My children are now 22 and 25 with no history of depressive episodes. Their future is not guaranteed to be depression free of course. The biology is there. But because they are aware of our family history and have ingrained in them prevention skills, their risk is reduced and they know to seek help should they need it. Please do the same for you and yours.
Citation: Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH1,2; Yaminette Diaz-Linhart, MSW, MPH1; Howard Cabral, PhD, MPH3; et al, (June 14, 2017). Efficacy of a Maternal Depression Prevention Strategy in Head Start A Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 14, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.1001
Hockey, Kathleen. Raising Depression Free Children: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention and Early Intervention. Hazeldon, 2003. All rights reserved.
Picture is of my children when they were children.