There are a number of risk factors for depression and suicide associated with family stressors. For instance, a family history of depression increases a person’s risk three to four times for getting depression. A family history of substance abuse also increases a person’s risk for depression, as well as being a substance user. A family history of suicide, high levels of family conflict, poor communication with parents, parental separation / divorce, and high pressure to succeed are also among the risk factors for depression and / or suicide. Serious or chronic medical illness of a family member can also contribute to depression in teenagers.
Family connectedness is a protective factor for depression and suicide. Families can become more connected by improving communication skills and by finding positive ways to resolve conflict.
It is important that parents be consistent and model positive behaviors for their children. Children are more likely to remember what parents do, rather than what they say. Conflicts can arise when parents’ behaviors contradict their words.