Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Review: Depression and Your Child by Deborah Sarani

Seeing your child suffer in any way is a harrowing experience for any parent. Mental illness in children can be particularly draining due to the mystery surrounding it, and the issue of diagnosis at such a tender age. Depression and Your Child gives parents and caregivers a uniquely textured understanding of pediatric depression, its causes, its symptoms, and its treatments. Serani weaves her own personal experiences of being a depressed child along with her clinical experiences as a psychologist treating depressed children.  (publisher's blurb)

I broke my self-imposed ban on accepting books for review for the chance to read and review this book on a topic that is close to my heart.  I  battle depression myself, and raised a child who struggles with it, also.  I wish I had read this book twenty years ago.  Maybe I could have recognized the signs sooner and known how to help.

Dr. Sarani's book covers a lot of technical information - types of depression, genetics, treatments - all of which is presented in language non-medical parents can understand. Children affected by depression are often labeled as "moody" or "sensitive".  Parents convince themselves that "She'll grow out of it" or "He's just a teenager!"  This book helps parents understand which behaviors and attitudes are "normal" and which are signs of concern.  

As a parent, a depression diagnosis is usually met with guilt ("Why didn't I know?"  "I'm a bad parent."), uncertainty ("What do I do now?" "How do I 'fix' this?"), and fear ("How do I protect my child?" "What if he harms himself?")  Ms. Sarani addresses each of these questions with more than platitudes or medical jargon.  She offers practical advice parents can use.

I especially appreciated the chapter devoted entirely to holistic treatments.  While medications are a blessing and can provide wonderful results, I'm a firm believer in using all available options for treatment of any illness.  The approaches defined in this chapter are simple, practical mood-building steps that parents can use to create an atmosphere that allows their child to cope with depression, and possibly ward off cyclical events.  These are steps that I will use for myself and recommend to our now-adult child.  

Thank you to Dr. Sarani and Pump Up Your Book blog tours for providing this useful book for review.   I highly recommend it for all parents, caregivers, and teachers.  


  1. Tami, I too have a child that went thru depression! My youngest son struggled with life altering depression his last two years of high school. We were terrified we were going to lose him. It's such a scary thing and so much more common than you think. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Thanks Tami for reviewing my book. I'm glad you found it a meaningful read. Like you, I also wished I had information younger and earlier in my experiences with depression.