How to explain depression/PTSD to young children - page 2

by verivici

5,037 Visits | 15 Comments

Hi! I am currently working with a pt who is suffering from depression NOS and PTSD. He has two young children (6 y/o) and has told them he is in hospital because he hurt his back and not because of his mental health issues. He... Read More


  1. 3
    And let the kids know that no matter how dad is feeling or acting, it's nothing THEY did... even if something happens that may appear that way. That dad can be very confused about what he is feeling, and he's getting help.
    nola1202, talaxandra, and Elvish like this.
  2. 0
    As a VA nurse and wife of a husband with PTSD (military related), I would suggest keeping it very simple. I tell my son (7 y.o.) that "Daddy feels very sad sometimes because....". As he gets older we explain a little more.

    All the advice given here has been great. I feel for anyone who suffers from PTSD and MST. :-(
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    dad/mom is sad. It's not your fault, and it's not your job to fix their sadness. You don't have to be extra good to make things better. PTSD: Something bad happened to mom/dad and sometimes something reminds them of that and they act like or look like....and it's not your fault or your job to fix them. Family therapists rock. Hope you can find one who is helpful.
    leslie :-D likes this.
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    Quote from verivici
    It is; however, I live in Canada. Also, my pt has not liked going to support groups in the past because he feels like he cannot relate to the other people in attendance. Another problem he has is that a lot of military related things trigger him so he is not very open to the idea of looking into any military mental health services we have available here.
    What part of Canada are you in? Is there a children's hospital nearby that might have a social worker on staff? They might be able to help you figure out what to say to a child.
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    I live in Edmonton which houses one of Canada's super bases. The MFRC has a huge support programme for spouses and children (of all ages). They are very approachable and have much information to share.

    MFRC's are located at every CFB that has families. At the end of each unit's deployment there are information/support evenings for families who are having a member return home. Their services are available to past and present members of the CF and the RCMP.

    DND is very pro-active in supporting returning troops with PTSD. They have worked very hard to remove the stigma of PTSD over the last two decades.

    If the patient is still in the Forces, his unit physician will be aware of his issues and can liase with the MFRC. You should get your unit Social Worker to contact the MFRC.
    dishes likes this.
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    CAMH has a series of brochures available that help explain parents mental health problems to children, the series are titled "What kids want to know" see link for the online brochure When a parent is depressed... What kids want to know-CAMH

    Also, since the patient's kids are 6 yrs old, a storybook geared to kids age 5-9 might be helpful "Can I catch it like a cold? Coping with a parents depression" Can I Catch It like a Cold?-CAMH
    Last edit by dishes on Jan 3, '12 : Reason: correction


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