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?

--JLong36548
Question:

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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