Impact

  • Depression, due to its recurrent nature, leads to sustained individual, family, and societal costs.

  • 15.6 million children under 18 years of age are living with an adult who had major depression in the past year.

  • Depression in parents can have serious biological, psychological, behavioral, and social consequences especially for children who rely on a parent for caregiving, material support, and nurturance.

  • Despite this impact, depression is perhaps one of the most effectively treated psychiatric disorders, if recognized and treated early in its onset.

Barriers

  • Individual-, provider-, and system-level barriers exist that decrease the access to and quality of care for depressed adults. These institutional, sociocultural, and linguistic barriers are responsible for causing and maintaining existing disparities. Without a system of care that is culturally and linguistically sensitive and supports a family’s environment, economic resources and relationships with family, coworkers, the community, and society, such disparities may increase. Improving provider-patient-family communication is an important component of addressing differences in quality of care that are associated with patient race, ethnicity, culture, and language.

  • The current policy environment does not encourage a two-generation (i.e., parent, child) identification, treatment, and prevention strategy for adults with depression.

Depression is a common, universal, and debilitating public health problem. The Global Burden of Disease study by the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that depression accounts for more disability worldwide than any other condition during the middle years of adulthood (Murray and Lopez, 1996). In fact, major depressive disorder is now the leading cause of disability worldwide (World Health Organization, 2001). For some with depressive episodes, periods of depression may resolve in a few weeks or months. However, it has been estimated that, for 30 to 50 percent of adults, depression is recurrent or chronic or fails to resolve completely (e.g., Depue and Monroe, 1986; Judd et al., 1998; Solomon et al., 2000). Ironically, de-



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