According to the National Institute Of Mental Health, in America alone, more than 6 million men have depression each year. But according to most of that 6 million, they just need to man the hell up about it. But the issue is as common as it is complicated it, and avoiding it can affect your family more than you realize: A recent and extensive study out of Drexel University found that children of depressed parents did notably worse in school, and that’s pretty depressing.
For a total of 10 years, researchers measured the grades for more than 1.1 million Swedish children and compared them with both parents’ mental health status. At age 16, teens with a depressed parent scored about 4 percentage points lower academically, compared to individuals with nondepressed parents. And that’s just Sweden, a country that ranks as one of the world’s top 10 happiest countries. Just imagine what those numbers might be here in the U.S., which is only the 13th happiest country.
And while a few points here or there may not seem like a huge deal, Drexel Epidemiologist Felice Le-Scherban argues that it’s much bigger than the difference between letter grades. Education is one of the “strongest predictors of health and life expectancy that we have,” she says. The good news is that another study found that when parents’ depression got better, so did their kids’ academic performance.
If you think you might be a depressed, tackling that may be one of the most important things you can do as a dad. Don’t know how? Take a page from a pro who does. You might not think of yourself as “a therapy guy,” but it’s the one healthy thing you’re allowed to have in common with Tony Soprano. You may as well embrace it.