Imitating Brother's Depression

My 14-year-old son is deeply depressed but receiving the help he needs. His 10-year-old brother, who was a good kid for years, is now imitating his older brother's behavior -- the bad kid role. Are there any support groups or organizations for parents with depressed/suicidal teens who could discuss the impact on the entire family?


After finally managing one depressed young adolescent, you are well into round two. My heart goes out to you. It looks like your younger child learned two lessons: the morose behavior and the attention it received. So, this is the pattern that resulted. Here are two organizations that could offer help and support: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (202) 966-7300, and The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-621-4000.

Let me also caution you: Just because your 10-year-old is playing copycat, his behavior should not be dismissed. Suicidal impulses and depression can run in families, and his feelings could be genuine, not just imitation.

-- Margaret Sagarese, coauthor of The Roller-Coaster Years and Parenting 911

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