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Missed opportunities: mental disorder in children of parents with depression

Potter, Robert, Mars, Becky ORCID:, Eyre, Olga, Legge, Sophie E., Ford, Tamsin, Sellers, Ruth, Craddock, Nicholas John ORCID:, Rice, Frances ORCID:, Collishaw, Stephan ORCID:, Thapar, Anita ORCID: and Thapar, Ajay Kumar ORCID: 2012. Missed opportunities: mental disorder in children of parents with depression. British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) 62 (600) , e487-e493. 10.3399/bjgp12X652355

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Background: Emerging evidence suggests that early intervention and prevention programmes for mental health problems in the offspring of parents with depression are important. Such programmes are difficult to implement if children with psychiatric disorder are not identified and are not accessing services, even if their parents are known to primary care. Aim: To investigate service use in children of parents who have recurrent depression, and factors that influence such contact. Design and setting: A total of 333 families were recruited, mainly through primary health care, in which at least one parent had received treatment for recurrent depression and had a child aged 9-17 years. Method: Psychiatric assessments of parents and children were completed using research diagnostic interviews. The service-use interview recorded current (in the 3 months prior to interview) and lifetime contact with health, educational, and social services due to concerns about the child's emotions or behaviour. Results: Only 37% of children who met criteria for psychiatric disorder were in contact with any service at the time of interview. A third, who were suicidal or self-harming and had a psychiatric disorder at that time, were not in contact with any service. Lack of parental worry predicted lower service use, with higher rates in children with comorbidity and suicidality. Conclusion: Most children with a psychiatric disorder in this high-risk sample were not in contact with services. Improving ease of access to services, increasing parental and professional awareness that mental health problems can cluster in families, and improving links between adult and child services may help early detection and intervention strategies for the offspring of parents with depression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescent, depression, early intervention, primary health care, risk
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 0960-1643
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2023 04:08

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