1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN


Study confirms that caregivers are challenged, too.


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It has been suggested that the families of children with mental health challenges have many unmet mental health needs (see Beyond attending to basic day-to-day needs of their children, caregivers must deal with any number of issues in the child's community and school and be prepared to struggle to obtain services available in the legal and mental health care systems. The burden of these responsibilities may have untold effects on parents of children with mental health problems.


Researchers from the Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis analyzed data from 155 parents of children ages two to 19 years with mental health needs to determine the prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms. The study found that an alarming 40% of such family members may have serious depression. These findings suggest that psychiatric nurses and other members of the interdisciplinary team assigned to children with mental health needs should routinely assess the mental health of the children's caregivers and help them find effective interventions when signs and symptoms of depression are discovered.


Gerkensmeyer JE, et al. Arch Psychiatr Nurs 2008;22(3):135-46.