Children have lots of questions when someone in their family becomes ill. When that illness is depression, it often becomes a secret that nobody talks about. To help children of depressed parents understand their parents' disorder, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has just published the first storybook of its kind in Canada, called Can I Catch it Like a Cold? A story to help children understand a parent's depression.
Research conducted by the CAMH indicated that children have many questions about their parents' depression. When they do not have answers, children tend to come up with their own, which can be incorrect and scary. Can I Catch It like a Cold? explores children's questions through the story of Alex, an 8-year-old boy who cannot understand why his father cries alone and does not attend Alex's soccer games. Alex discovers that his father is depressed, and through the help of family, friends, and mental health professionals, Alex gains a greater understanding of depression and stops feeling so alone and confused.
The first in a series of storybooks produced by CAMH to explain mental health to children, Can I Catch It like a Cold is written for children aged 5 to 9 years old. It is intended for use by parents, extended family, teachers and mental health professionals who want to address the impact of depression in children's lives.