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The Ripple Effect | Don’t let depression pass down: Experts

12:00 AM Jan 30, 2024 IST | Rabiya Bashir
the ripple effect    don’t let depression pass down  experts
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Srinagar, Jan 29: Parental mental health plays a pivotal role in shaping the well-being and academic success of children, experts say.

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The doctors emphasise the link between parental mental health and the risk of depression and academic challenges in children.

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“Positive and stable mental health environment at home significantly contributes to a child's emotional resilience and overall happiness,” they said.

A professor at the Psychiatry Department at IMHANS, Dr Zaid Wani, who also heads the Child Guidance and Wellbeing Centre (CGWC) at SMHS Hospital, told Greater Kashmir that there is great importance of secure attachment bonds established in childhood.

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He said that from a clinical experience, the quality of attachment and relationships between children and their parents, caregivers, or other adults influences the development of mental health outcomes.

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“Interventions like family therapy and parent management training play a pivotal role in mitigating these risks. There is a need to improve communication and emotional bonds within the family, addressing underlying stressors contributing to parental depression’s impact on children,” Dr Wani said.

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The doctors said that by intervening early and addressing familial dynamics, professionals can break the cycle of intergenerational depression and academic underachievement, promoting healthier outcomes for both parents and children.

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A professor at IMHANS, Dr Yasir Hassan Rather told Greater Kashmir that the parent-child relationship and its impact on mental health was a complex issue that researchers continue to explore.

However, he said that studies consistently show protective factors against depression and other disorders when children feel securely attached to parents or caregivers.

“From a clinical point of view, we often see adults whose mental health struggles stem from insecure attachment and adverse childhood experiences,” he said.

Dr Rather said that issues like neglect, criticism, trauma, or loss of a parent could predispose children to internalising problems.

“Fortunately, a strong relationship is a modifiable factor. Through parenting education, family therapy, and treatment of parental mental illness, we can interrupt the intergenerational transmission of disorders,” the doctors said.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Columbia, children with parents suffering from depression face a higher likelihood of experiencing similar mental health issues and struggling to achieve academic milestones.

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