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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds I first realised that there was something wrong with Emma when I’d been to work and had come home and she was still in bed. She hadn’t been to school. She wasn’t doing her homework. She wasn’t eating. She wasn’t interacting with anybody. Her friends from school weren’t coming around anymore. She wasn’t going out and doing any activities. I was so unsure what to do. Emma’s dad died three years ago.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds I’d been on my own, raising her and Simon, sorting things out. Because it’s me. I’m mum. I fix it all. It’s this realisation that I can’t fix this. I was desperate for help. I wasn’t sure how to talk to her at first. Anyone would do. I went to school and I spoke to her tutors. Well, they’d realised that it was a problem as well. Then you realise it’s a problem aired is a problem shared. They gave me some great advice, and I realised now that I was getting the help, well, Emma was getting the help that she desperately needed. So she wasn’t very happy about it, I have to say. But obviously, they directed me to the doctor.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds He gave me advice. It was such a relief, such a relief that I was able to talk to someone and air all my problems as well. But then he referred me to specialist help. Well, what does that mean? Lying on couches with people sitting next to you, taking notes? No, it’s not like that.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds I had to go through, well, we had to go through, a special assessment and initial assessment, they call it. And it helps them to identify some of the problems that you have by talking to you, asking you what the problem is, and so that they can help you the best way that they can. Then they talked about the help that they could give us and how they could give it to us, what different forms of support, therapies and all the different options. And I like that, options, because you could choose. Things are looking positive and moving in the right direction, because we’re definitely in a better place than what we were. And it’s all about moving forward from there.

Parent's view: Depression

Research indicates that caring for a depressed teenager can be particularly difficult and stressful for parents. Parents might feel guilty that they have somehow caused the depression, or haven’t been able to protect their child from the stresses and challenges that may have contributed to it. They may also feel frustrated that they can’t get through to their teenager, or hopeless about not being able to change the situation. The reality is that parents can play an important role in supporting their teenager – from recognising difficulties when they first emerge, through to supporting with treatment and beyond.

In this video we hear from Emma’s mum, Lucy, as she talks about her experience. Please note: For the purposes of the course, this character is played by an actor but based on a real case example.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading