Exploring Mental Health in Your Family Tree

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  • #8050
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    Moderator ★

    Activity: Mental illnesses can be genetic. Your child may feel alone with their symptoms, but after learning that they are likely not the first in their family who has felt this way, it can clear up a lot of things for them. Look at old photos that you have of family members – they can be your siblings, parents, or even more generations back! – and share stories about them about struggles that they have gone through. You can also consider the following:

    • Does your family have any history of depression or anxiety?
    • Have other family members ever faced stigma for a mental health issue?
    • Share with your teen your family history or personal history with mental health.

    Discussion: Leave comments about your experience here. You may also have questions before engaging in the activity about worries you might have at finding out information about your family members that might upset you or your child.

    Check out these articles to get some more info:

    Mental Health in Your Family Tree

    A Hobby to Help with Bad Feelings

  • #8453
    Profile photo of study_mom

    My kids and I have discussed this issue before. It has come up within our family. For example, I’ve had to explain why people treat my sister differently than I, and how it is sometimes tough to deal with. My sister has lived with depression since we were kids, and it has affected her in big ways at times. It is hard seeing her spiral out of control when it happens. And it is also hard when people judge her without trying to help her, or when they end up making things worse with their lack of compassion. I want to help always but can’t. It gets heavy from time to time, and I’ve had to back away for my own mental health until I am able to be there again. It’s hard but a true challenge for our entire family. My sister is doing much better as an adult, but it took time, medicine, love, God, and tons of support for a big difference to be made. But we got there, and fight hard to stay here in this good place.

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