Abby: Survey measures impact of depression on family

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Readers: The departments of psychiatry and medicine at Tufts Medical Center want to learn more about the impact caregiving has on family members and friends of people who have been diagnosed with depression or other illnesses.

Because family members and friends play a large part in providing care while also balancing jobs and other responsibilities, the physicians and research scientists at Tufts are asking you, my readers, to share the impact caregiving has on different aspects of your life, including your ability to work and your health and well-being. This information will be used to improve services to caregivers and the people they support.

You may be eligible to participate if you are a:

■caregiver for a relative or friend with depression or other illnesses,

■person who has depression that has not improved with treatment,

■person who is employed and not involved in caregiving.

If you are interested in participating in this important study, please visit Participation in this study is voluntary and anonymous. It involves answering a brief set of questions and, if you are eligible to participate, completing an anonymous survey. The entire study is conducted on the internet and is completely private. In the past, readers have generously helped by sharing experiences, and I hope you will do so again.

Dear Abby: I’m 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first child, and my husband and I are happily awaiting our baby’s arrival. I am fretting over something I need some help figuring out. My mother-in-law is a serious smoker. She smokes in her home, in her car and right before getting into anyone’s car or leaving home. She reeks of smoke all the time.

I do not want my baby around a smoker, but of course, I want our baby to bond with Grandma. She’s oblivious to the dangers of second- and third-hand smoke and laughs it off. My husband says we can’t make her stop smoking, and he doesn’t want to talk with her about it. I am adamant about our baby having a smoke-free environment. What do I do?

Protective Future Mommy

Dear Mommy: Your tobacco-addicted mother-in-law is not going to quit smoking. Your husband doesn’t want to talk to his mother about it because he knows it will go nowhere. That leaves you.

Unfortunately, your child is going to have to live in a world in which there are people who smoke. While you may be able to minimize his/her exposure, you cannot guarantee that from childhood to adulthood your child’s environment will be entirely smoke-free. Because you are adamant — for good reason — about your baby having a smoke-free environment, you will have to insist, with your husband present, that Grandma bond with her grandchild in your home or some other smoke-free environment. Period.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.