Treating Parental Depression:

Critical for Parent and Child

“It goes without saying that depression and divorce are closely linked.”

So says one of a series of helpful articles on depression found at Depression Help. Further, depression may actually lead to a marital breakup. Whether leading to or a result of, once recognized, the condition should be dealt with immediately.

Consensus Point MediationWhy? For the simple reason that treatment is important if the individual is to cope with the demands of everyday living. Concerns for depression and its timely treatment are even more important when children are in the picture. Dr. Perri Klass underscores the point in a recent New York Times science column, headlined “Parents’ Mental Health is Critical to Children’s Care.”

Klass summarizes research confirming that parental depression is potentially corrosive to children in its potential to both contribute to poor school performance and interfere with the development of healthy peer relationships. Not surprisingly, the child is also at risk for becoming depressed.

Children are also at risk in that parental depression may impact child health care issues. For example, according to Klass, there is the added risk that a depressed parent, “is less able to follow a complex medical regimen, and a child ends up in the emergency room or the hospital. . . ,” compounding familial stress.

Detection is all important but depression often goes undetected even in routine medical examinations. Simple inquiry on the part of the examining physician may be an easy answer. Dr. Jacqueline Grupp-Phelan, quoted in the Klass article, notes that mothers actually welcome mental well-being inquiries by their physicians. Once detected by a medical professional, depression is, of course, usually quite treatable.

Depression is not limited to mothers, says Dr. Daniel Buccino of Johns Hopkins, quoted by writer Sara Brown-Worsham in a posting at Some studies have shown that men are sometimes more prone to depression in the early stages of a divorce, than women. Why? Loss of custody and parental responsibilities. According to Buccino, “Men’s social lives largely revolve around their spouses and family, and when that is disrupted, it can leave men more isolated and prone to depression.

Either way fallout from a divorce, or any other stressful event, may lead to depression and have serious consequences for children. Parents and physicians alike need to be alert to symptoms and focus on prompt treatment.

Feel free to ask any questions, to comment, or to request more information in the Comments Box below. Also, please feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know who might be interested in its topic.
We would be pleased to schedule a consultation with you and your spouse to explore the divorce mediation process and to answer your questions about it. There is no fee or commitment for this consultation. We invite you to call us at (646) 340-3434 to schedule an appointment.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator in New York Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434


Print Friendly

One Response to Treating Parental Depression:

  • Important article, Sandy. It may be relevant to note that depression, or other clinical or even non-clinical mental conditions may so cloud a parent’s vision that he or she may not adequately be able to consider and decide on the essential issues in divorce, such as custody and equitable distribution of marital property.

    When a mediator sees signs of such mental distress, it’s incumbent upon us to check in to see if the party can continue. Mediation may need to be suspended, even if only temporarily, until the distressed individual is again able to make competent decisions. The participation of third parties, such as therapists or doctors, may be required.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *