My 3-year-old can tell I’m depressed.

Young children are especially prone to it. Take things personallyand can sense their parents’ sadness. It is their faultsaid Colleen Cullen, assistant professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.

Avoiding conversations about mental illness also means that it’s not something that should be talked about, which only perpetuates the stigma. “The best preventative measure for many mental health concerns for kids is just being able to talk about it and express themselves and have open conversations with the adults around them,” Dr. Huston said.

Growing up, Verna Letcher, a Tampa-based meditation teacher, never blamed herself for her mother’s depression, but she didn’t know what to do about it. “Now and then mom would go into her bedroom, and there was nothing we could do,” he recalled. “Inside, I was like, ‘Well, when I grow up, none of this is going to happen.’

As she got older, Ms. Letcher thought her mother’s persistent depression was related to her abusive marriage and divorce, so when she began to see “flashes” of depression herself, it was in her 20s. I, she became busy creating the kind of life she envisioned for herself. will make him happy. But in her early 30s, she fell into a deep depression.

“I had the career and the house I wanted and the husband I wanted, and the baby. And guess what, I’m not happy,” she said. That’s when he finally tried treatment.

Instead of avoiding conversations about depression, parents can shoot for “age-appropriate honesty,” Dr. Cullen said. Preschoolers like my daughter may not be able to understand words like “depression.” They understand emotionssuch as depression, or physical ailments, such as stomach aches. Breaking it down into simple, relatable terms can give even young children a foundation for understanding.