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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my daughter who has depression?

    My 21 yo daughter was diagnosed with depression a year ago. She is in her 3rd year of uni. She has been going to a GP and Psychologist for help. They have both suggested medication, but my daughter doesn't want to go down that track. She has tried breathing exercises and meditation. I feel that she is not getting any better and is now aiming her frustrations and resentments toward her elder sister. My heart is aching as I see my eldest daughter soak up the hurtful comments. While the family have been patient and supportive, I am afraid that her depression is tearing us apart. I have told her that her actions toward her sister are unacceptable. Where do I go from here?
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  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    In addition to the excellent advice given by others, it may be important to seek out additional support for yourself and your other daughter. Caring for a family member with depression is hard work! It's challenging to manage the feelings of concern and perhaps powerlessness when you notice your daughter making choices that you feel are not helping her. Some of what you describe is the ‘contagion effect’ of depression - that is, the nature of depression is that people feel hopeless and that nothing will help, and those caring for them can end up feeling the same way. The federal government funds counselling  for family members caring for someone with an illness through Carer Organizations in each state - just google ‘Carers Australia’ and their website provides links to the Carer Service in your region. This would be available to you and others in the family as well (such as your elder daughter). Counselling can give you strategies to support your daughter and for your own self-care. There are also organizations in each state that offer support and information for family carers - one such organization is ARAFEMI which has branches in a number of states. In support groups you can hear from other families about what they have tried that has helped their loved one, and feel you are not alone and that others ‘get it’. 
    All the best.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Adding to the excellent suggestions from the clinical health professionals, you could suggest to your daughter that she gets her GP to refer her to a psychiatrist.

    A psychiatrist will be able to assess the severity of her depression and (depending) raise the option of medication with her.

    There is good evidence that people who are assessed as being in the severe range of depression can benefit from a combination of medication and non-pharmaceutical approaches, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which Dianne mentioned.

    That combination is often more effective than either is in isolation.

    All the best.

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