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How Can I Help my Daughter's Depression

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 24 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Depression Teenager Mental Health

Q.

I wonder if you can help. I have a daughter that is showing signs of severe depression, I don't know how to help her. I have contacted doctors who do not seem to take it seriously, she constantly talks about suicide and has dropped out of college. This has been going on for 4 years I am worried I am going to lose her. What can I do?

(Mrs Heiid Mclean, 7 October 2008)

A.

It would be easy to write off a teenager’s depression as common mood swings, and her talk of suicide as simple attention seeking, but even if this were true it is still clear that your daughter needs help. The fact that she has dropped out of college and that you have picked up on signs of severe depression, in addition to her constant talk of suicide, all prove that she is not happy in her life.

It is clear that you have been pro-active about your daughter’s mental health in that you have already taken her to see medical professionals. However, you must ask yourself why your doctors would not be taking your daughter’s behaviours seriously. If you did not question them when you took your daughter to see them, do so now. Make a new appointment and explain why you are concerned. Be sure to discuss the signs and symptoms that you have been noticing, and state clearly that your daughter has spoken of suicide. If you still do not find satisfaction in this route then tell them that you would like a referral for your daughter to a mental health specialist.

Depending on whether or not you get the referral, and the waiting times involved, you may decide to go private in order to see to your daughter’s mental health assessed. Ask around for the details of an experienced teen psychologist, therapist or counsellor. Do not wait to go down this route, and do not hesitate that you are doing what is best for your daughter. If you are concerned then you need to act on these concerns. Remember, the sooner you seek help the sooner your daughter can avail of it.

While it will depend upon your daughter’s diagnosis as to how she is treated, it is likely that if she is depressed she will need to engage in therapy and/or take medication. Following this treatment plan is imperative. When your daughter has begun her treatment plan you can then discuss how to get her life back on track, including getting her back in school.

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