Depression and Prevention

General Resources, Professional Associations and Family Organizations


When a Parent Is Depressed, a book written by Dr. Beardslee based on the long-term study of families receiving preventive interventions, provides a good general resource for families and rich, detailed stories of the families who were in the intervention.

National Academy of Medicine. Provides invaluable reports on general issues in medical care.

National Institute of Mental Health. The “Mental Health Information” section on the home page contains a vast amount of information on mental health and illnesses including depression, manic depression, and others, with a section on child and adolescent mental health.
  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, especially the sections titled “Issues, Conditions and Disorders” and “Treatment, Prevention and Recovery” on the home page.

FOCUS World. FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) provides resiliency training to military families. It teaches practical skills to meet the challenges of deployment and reintegration, to communicate and solve problems effectively, and to successfully set goals together and create a shared family story.

Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. A resource for families wrestling with any medical or psychiatric parental illness.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. A link to “Facts for Families” under “Quick Links” on the home page includes questions and answers on child and adolescent psychiatry symptoms and illnesses affecting teenagers, and a catalog of publications on these areas.

American Psychiatric Association. Health information for patients is found in the sections titled “Inside the APA” and “Resources” on the home page.

American Psychological Association. This site includes information on health care, depression, and other illnesses.

National Association of Social Workers Online. National Association of Social Workers, Inc.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Information on depression including symptoms, detection, and different types of depressive illness, as well as ways to become involved in advocacy about mental illness.

Experience Journals - Children's Hospital Boston. The Experience Journals at Children's Hospital Boston are designed to promote the healthy coping of children and their families who must contend with significant physical and emotional illnesses.

Families for Depression Awareness. A national nonprofit organization helping families recognize and cope with depressive disorders to get people well and prevent suicides.

Mental Health America. The “Mental Health Info“ section is valuable and includes a subsection named “Get Info – Disorders and Treatments” that details the symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicide in children and adolescents.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. This site contains information on education, advocacy, and research for mental illnesses, as well as links to related sites.

National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. A national organization with many resources for families.

Family Talk Resources

Empirical Evidence, Methodology, Detailed Reports of Pilot Study, Adaptations, Clinical Understandings and References

The evidence base for Family Talk comes primarily from a long-term follow-up of two public health preventive interventions based on the same principles: Family Talk and a two session public health lecture. An original pilot study was begun in 1989 using a randomized design to look at the interventions. In 1991, NIMH supported a randomized design with a larger number of families. Eventually, the pilot sample, which included child assessments, was combined with the NIMH sample to yield about 100 families, including over 120 children. Families in this combined sample were randomized into one of two interventions and were followed over time. Outcomes were reported at 2 ½ and 4 ½ years after enrollment for the entire sample.

Results showed sustained gains in parents’ behaviors and attitudes about the illness and toward their children. Additionally, children in both interventions showed greater understanding of parental depression. In both parents and children, there was greater sustained change in the Family Talk Intervention. Regardless of condition, parents who reported greater change had children who reported a greater increase in understanding. For both groups, there was an increase in family functioning, a decrease in depressive symptomatology, and better recognition of depression when it occurred.

A series of adaptations have been done and are reported in the Adaptations section below.

When a Parent Is Depressed, a book written by Dr. Beardslee based on the long-term study of families receiving preventive interventions, provides a good general resource for families and rich, detailed stories of the families who were in the intervention.


Beardslee WR, Gladstone TRG, Wright EJ, and Cooper AB. A family-based approach to the prevention of depressive symptoms in children at risk: Evidence of parental and child change. Pediatrics, August 2003, 112(2), e119-e131.
Beardslee WR, Wright EJ, Gladstone TRG, and Forbes P. Long-term effects from a randomized trial of two public health preventive interventions for parental depression. J Family Psychol, 2008, 21, 703-713.

Beardslee WR, Versage EM, Salt P, and Wright E. The development and evaluation of two preventive intervention strategies for children of depressed parents. In Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology, Volume IX., Developmental Approaches to Prevention and Intervention, Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S.L. (eds.), University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY, 1999.
Beardslee WR, Wright E, Rothberg PC, Salt P, and Versage E. Response of families to two preventive strategies: Long-term differences in behavior and attitude change. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1996; 35: 774-782.
Beardslee WR, Wright E, Salt P, Gladstone TRG, Versage E. and Rothberg PC. Examination of children’s responses to two preventive intervention strategies over time. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1997; 36: 196-204.

Introduction to Website

African-American adaptation with randomized trial

Podorefsky DL, McDonald-Dowdell M, & Beardslee WR. Adaptation of preventive interventions for a low-income, culturally diverse community. J American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2001, 40:8: 879-886.
Latino adaptation with open trial

D’Angelo EJ, Llerena-Quinn R, Shapiro R, Colon F, Gallagher K, and Beardslee WR. Adaptation of the preventive intervention program for depression for use with Latino families. Fam Process, 2009, 48(2), 269-291.
Family Connections – an innovation demonstration grant

Dr. Beardslee and colleagues adapted the principles of Family Talk for use in Head Start and Early Head Start. Given the high rates of depression and depressive symptomatology in the parents of Head Start children, they took a public health approach by developing a teacher training and empowerment program to help teachers deal with parents who are difficult to engage and also to emphasize the importance of self-reflection and self-care. This program consists of 12 trainings for teachers and a number of short papers for both teachers and parents.

In a second phase of the project, the materials on socioemotional development and parental adversity were linked to a specific focus on reading and the use of language in the Tell Me A Story project. The program now consists of 9 trainings, 3 focused on reading to children about emotional topics in Head Start, 3 on how to engage parents, and 3 developed in collaboration with Dr. Catherine Snow’s language/literacy team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on ways of engaging families for whom English is a second language.

Beardslee WR, Ayoub C, Avery MW, Watts CI, and O’Carroll KL. Family Connections: An approach for strengthening early care systems in facing depression and adversity. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010, 80(4), 482-95.

Beardslee WR, Avery MW, Ayoub C, and Watts CL. Family Connections: Helping Early Head Start/Head Start staff and parents make sense of mental health challenges. Zero to Three, 29(6), 2009, 34-42.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Szigethy E, Carpenter J, Baun E, Kenney E, Baptista-Neto B, Beardslee WR, and DeMaso DR. Longitudinal treatment of adolescents with depression and inflammatory bowel disease. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 2006, 45(4):1-5.

Szigethy E, Noll R, DeMaso D, Beardslee W, Weisz J, Fairclough D, Bousvaros A, Keljo D, Hardy DM, Kenney E, and Carpenter H. Cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease and subsyndromal depression. J Am Acad Child Adolesc
Psychiatry, October 2007, 46(1):1290-1298.
Chicago community-wide adaptation

The Community Mental Health Council

The Community Mental Health Council, also known as The Council, helps individuals and families who are challenged with mental illness. The Council is driven by their belief that quality behavioral health and wellness services should be available to everyone, particularly those who believe that health and hope are unattainable. Its initiatives are led by the strategic vision of the President and CEO, Dr. Carl C. Bell, and governed by The Council's Institutional Review Board and a volunteer Board of Directors. The organization’s operations are managed by the Senior Vice Presidents, Juanita Redd and Hayward Suggs, who jointly share administrative responsibilities. The Council’s values and philosophies are designed to support its mission and vision. The basic underlying strategy to achieve its vision is, “to be recognized as a premier leader in the field of Behavioral Healthcare”
through “Innovation and Teamwork”.

The Council has a global reputation of providing quality, evidence-based, culturally sensitive, behavioral health, and wellness services. The agency continues to move towards its goals through four distinct entities: Direct Services, a Wellness Institute, Research, and Consultation Services. Each entity operates to meet the shared goals of the organization. The consultation services are delivered through The Council’s Institutive of Managerial and Clinical Consultation, most often referred to as IMACC.

Core services of the Council include: training and education; executive and managerial coaching; organizational assessment; team design and development; strategic planning and strategic staffing; training and education; and transitional management.
Phone: 773.734.4033 ext. 136
Email: [email protected]
Family Talk Chicago Implementation

The Family Talk Preventive Intervention program is a pilot project between the Chicago Department of Public Health, Community Mental Health Council, Inc., and Children’s Hospital Boston/Judge Baker Children’s Center. More than twelve local agencies, organizations, and systems of care in the Chicago area were recruited to learn the Family Talk Preventive Intervention and integrate it into their continuum of care in order to strengthen children, families, and communities at greatest risk. The pilot agencies represent multiple treatment settings across diverse communities including community mental health centers, medical facilities, alcohol and substance abuse treatment facilities, child welfare agencies and public health agencies. The Chicago pilot implementation began in May 2010 and will continue through December 2011. IMACC consultants completed a readiness assessment with all partner agencies prior to implementation to determine its capacity to support the intervention at the service delivery and administrative levels. Following training on Family Talk, IMACC consultants provide bi-weekly supervision for preventionists as needed and quarterly administrator conference calls to support overall implementation.

Additionally, a core group of agencies received enhanced training to support the delivery of the Family Talk Community Presentation, developed by the Chicago implementation team. This curriculum was developed to assist partner agencies in increasing their capacity to provide community education and expand service delivery. Final steps for each partner agency include the evaluation of the intervention delivery methods, assessment of applicability with its core consumers and agency settings, and provision of feedback to the Chicago Department of Public Health about greater service expansion within the Chicago area.
President & CEO
Dr. Carl Bell, M.D

Senior Vice Presidents
Juanita L. Redd, MPA, MBA
Hayward Suggs, MS, MBA

IMACC Consultants
Gia Buckner-Hayden, MPH, MA
Melvin Graves, Ph.D.
Bernadette McCarthy, LCSW
Christina Smith, LCSW
Clifton Smith, LCSW, ADS
Patricia Smith-Huntoon, LCPC
Focht L and Beardslee WR. “Speech after long silence”: The use of narrative therapy in a preventive intervention for children of parents with affective disorder. Family Process, 1996; 35: 407-422.
Beardslee WR, Swatling S, Hoke L, Rothberg PC, van de Velde P, Focht L, and Podorefsky D. From cognitive information to a shared meaning: Healing principles in preventive intervention. Psychiatry, 1998; 61: 112-129.

Focht-Birkerts L, and Beardslee WR. A child’s experience of parental depression: Encouraging relational resilience in families with affective illness. Family Process, 2000,
39:4: 417-434.
Beardslee WR and MacMillan H: Preventive intervention with the children of depressed parents: A case study. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1993; 48: 249-276.

National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth, and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. O’Connell ME, Boat T, and. Warner KE, Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The
National Academies Press. 2009.
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Depression in parents, parenting and children: Opportunities to improve identification, treatment, and prevention efforts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2009.
Last modified: Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 4:27 PM