Parental Depression: How it Affects a Child

This information is useful for children and adults
Little girl in a pink and white polka dot dress holds the hand of a parent who may be depressed.

Parental depression is a pervasive problem, and a large and growing body of research shows that it is a major risk factor for difficulties in a child’s life, says Megan Smith, PhD, co-director of the Parenting Center at the Yale Medicine Child Study Center and director of the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers (MOMS) Partnership.

“Depression disrupts a parent’s ability to work, parent, and participate in the community,” she says, defining “parent” broadly to include not only mothers and fathers, but also pregnant women, grandmothers, and other kin caring for children. “It’s incredibly functionally impairing.”

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New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.