New program offers depression support for Geelong parents and families

22 October 2012

A new program is offering Geelong families support in dealing with youth depression and related mental health concerns.

Family Options is a research program that offers free psychology group sessions for parents with an adolescent who shows signs of depression. Some of the common warning signs include an ongoing low or irritable mood, loss of interest in activities, and changes to sleep or appetite. The program is being offered in Geelong, starting 31 October.

Deakin University clinical psychologist Associate Professor Andrew Lewis said the intervention has been developed over a decade and is now specifically tailored to help families dealing with a young person suffering from depression.

“Around one in five adolescents suffer depressive symptoms severe enough to impact on their intellectual and social development. Depression also often co-exists with anxiety and high rates of alcohol and drug use which has a huge impact on not only the young person but their family,” Associate Professor Lewis explained.

“Family Options enables parents to connect with other parents in similar situations, and to discuss important topics and ideas related to youth mental health and family relationships. This approach is proving successful in assisting parents to find the support and ideas they need, from both psychology professionals and from one another.

“Parents can expect to come away with a clearer idea of what is normally expected in the teen years, what is more of a mental health concern, and their options. Young people are invited to join their parents at the group in later stages, but this is not a requirement to participate.”

The Family Options program is free for eligible families. It will start on Wednesday 31 October and run weekly from 6—8 pm at Deakin’s Geelong Waterfront Campus. Surveys are collected from both parents and youth to evaluate the programs. Families wanting to check eligibility and register for the program can contact Jo Skewes, intake worker, on (03) 9244 3055.

The program is a collaboration between Deakin University, Eastern Health, Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre and drummond street services. It is supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Drug Foundation and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.

News facts
  • Deakin running Family Options program to help parents deal with a child showing signs of depression
  • Around one in five adolescents suffer depression severe enough to impact on their intellectual and social development.
  • Family Options provides parents with support and tactics to help their families

Media contact

Mandi O'Garretty
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 2776; 0418 361 890

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22nd October 2012