Childhood and Adolescent Depression


Although Fountainhead Clinic has closed, Brooke McNeal, N.D. is still in private practice helping children who suffer from emotional and behavioral disorders through homeopathic care.  Please visit her new website for more information

Hearing a diagnosis of depression in your child can be devastating, especially given the concerns about increased risk of suicide in teens treated with antidepressants. You want your child to be happy, but don’t want to worry about the risks. Children with depression respond rapidly to our treatments without the side effects common with conventional treatment. Early intervention with naturopathic medicine, can mean avoiding a lifetime of pain and suffering for your child. At Fountainhead Clinic, we are passionate about treating pediatric depression because we love seeing children develop into the happy, healthy kids they were meant to be.

How do you treat depression in children naturally?

There are several well-known natural therapies for depression such as St. John’s Wort and SAMe. Unfortunately, they act in similar ways to antidepressant medications, and therefore run similar risks. Depression can wear many masks – it can be sad, irritable, or just a lack of interest in life – especially in kids. At Fountainhead, we are focused on individual care, and take the time to understand each child’s experience. While we have many tools to address depression, we have seen that the fastest and most effective treatment for pediatric depression is homeopathy, a very individualized medicine.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a system of medicine that stimulates the body to heal itself, leading to sustainable improvement in overall health. This improvement is achieved with little to no side effects, and when prescribed properly, occurs quickly, giving rapid relief of symptoms. At Fountainhead clinic we feel very strongly that homeopathy is the most effective treatment and the most vital step to our success in helping someone achieve perfect health.

Do you use any other treatments?

Occasionally there are “obstacles to cure” that must be dealt with for homeopathic treatment to be its most effective. These may include nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or stressful social relationships. Our doctors routinely assess for the many factors contributing to disruption of mental and physical health, and remove obstacles when possible, in order to continue the healing process. Supportive therapies are therefore identified and prescribed on a strictly individual basis.

How do you manage my child’s current medications?

We are happy to work with your psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician regarding current medications. For more information about medication management click here.

Patient Story

Jose is an 11-year-old boy who was initially brought in to see Dr. Brooke by his father for what he perceived to be a developmental delay. Jose was not doing well in school, didn’t have many friends, and didn’t speak much. During the intake it became clear that Jose is actually a very bright boy who was suffering from depression. After getting to know more about how Jose spends his day he shared that he doesn’t talk much because he spends his time thinking. With a bit of patience Jose shared that what he thinks about most is how things could be different, specifically related to his mother who left him with his father over 9 years ago. He would spend hours a day thinking about it, preferably alone. He said he felt very sad but never cried. He had some feelings of resentment toward his stepmother, who he never really bonded with and who rarely made efforts to engage him. Further discussion revealed that he has an aversion to the sun, making it hard to play with the other kids at recess, as he tended to stay in the shade.

Jose’s case indicated that Natrum muriaticum was the best remedy for him, so it was given in the potency 30C. This case, however, was complicated by his living situation. His father didn’t spend much time with him, and Jose never saw his biological mother despite her living only 15 miles from him. His father acknowledged that she was busy with her new family and that Jose’s stepmother had never really “taken to him” and that he might be missing out on some things in life. Knowing that a difficult home situation can blunt or slow responses to homeopathic medicine, Dr. Brooke referred the family to counseling.  As of the last follow up Jose was showing steady improvement, and his stepmother has started attending his doctor’s visits with him to support him. Jose tried out for his middle school’s football team – and he made it!



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