How do you assess an Au Pair candidate who has suffered from depression?

by cv harquail on September 24, 2012

Dear Au Pair Mom,

We are currently looking for a new aupair and I am concerned about an application that the agency has sent to me.  We have hosted girls for ten years from all over the world. Our kids are 11, 10, and 7 years old.

One candidate looks especially good, except for few things. Here’s what she has on her application:

“Diagnosed with the following

  • Chicken pox
  • Headaches
  •  Depression 

Please provide dates and explanation

For depression – “At the moment no sign of illness, was treated in 2011 for three months”
“Depression because of sleep disturbances and no relationship with my daddy”

I am not sure how to think about this. I have no experience with depression.

Should I be concerned? If the doctor said she is fine, should I worry?  She does not mention taking any medication for depressions, if that matters.

Thanks so much for your thoughts.

Parents, have any of you had a similar situation?  
What additional questions would you ask this applicant?
What else would you do to figure out whether depression might become an issue?
Please share, below.


Dawn September 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I’ve worked with a number of folks who were clinically depressed. I work in the health profession, and my experience is that unless the depression is tied to a very specific event (physical trauma within the last 5 years, recent death of a family member, loss of a job), there is significant risk for ongoing mental health problems.

I wonder how long there’s been “no relationship with my daddy.” If the break in the relationship was within a few years before 2011 and it was sudden, then 3 months of treatment may have been enough to deal with a temporary crisis. If the dad has been absent for many years, you may have an AP who’s still grappling with issues that may compromise her ability to adapt to a new environment. Pretty much all APs have adjustment challenges when they come to the States and a new family, and a depressed AP will have that many more to deal with.

I think it’s generous of you to even consider taking on an AP with a red flag like this. I had one AP who, while not diagnosed with depression, was such a Debbie Downer that my kids would ask what was wrong with her (interestingly, she had daddy issues too). Lucky for all of us, she realized that being an AP was something she couldn’t handle and she returned home within the first few months. She cried constantly, was clingy and never satisfied no matter what we did to try to help. By far the worst experience of the many APs we’ve hosted. Ever since then, I’ve looked for an upbeat attitude and I personally would be too gun-shy to help an AP like the one you’ve described. I hope everything works out well regardless of what you decide!

MilitaryHM September 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm

This is hard to write about. I’ve switched between au pairs and nannies for the past 9 years, and had a 20 yr old nanny with a history of depression as my summer nanny this year. I knew she was on medication, but she didn’t tell me that her prescription had run out and she was having trouble getting it refilled. To make a long, horrible story short, she tried to commit suicide in my house by overdosing on pills. She was unconscious when I found her and was in the ICU for a few days. The only reason my 12 and 9 yr old kids didn’t find her is because I happened to be home that morning and they told me her alarm was going off and she wasn’t turning it off. We’ve had a long time policy that they do not go into the au pair’s room without being invited so they didn’t open her door. However, they saw the paramedics arrive and know more about depression that I ever thought they would need to know at this age. I’ve learned more than I ever expected about depression, to include the fact that it IS treatable, and that relapses are common. I also learned after the fact that she had up and down days, and it was very confusing for my son. He blamed himself for her “don’t have the energy to get off the couch days”. I don’t recommend you walk into this situation unless you are experienced in mental health issues.

Evelina September 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I think this is a subject that is really hard for a person to talk about, especially with a stranger, but for you as a hostfamily you need to be sure of her history and weather she’s capable to care for your kids in a responsible way even if she suffers from occassional ‘bad days’.
I also think that in some cases escaping your problems for a year as an aupair can be a really good thing, but it could also go the complete opposite way and trigger her depression again.
Try to get to the bottom of her problems to make sure she’s still a good fit for your family!

Felicity - an aupair September 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I am surprised that they even aprroved her application – I had an issues with approving cause of ADHD (it really not effects me in any way, I had some attention problems in early school age but except this nothing at all.) It is fine that she is honest (cause I know applying process, It is really not difficult to hide fact like this) but I absolutely get that you are worried about. If I were hostmother – I would be as well. But you never know what happened, how serious was that. If you give her try, it would the best to ask her—-

AnnaAuPair September 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’m surprised as well. The first agency I applied to denied me entrance because of a long a go therapy that I started to avoid problems and where no problems were diagnosed and where my therapist wrote a long letter how it would be no problem at all. Still they didn’t take me because they said the US agency wouldn’t take anyone with any kind of mental health problems.
But then, I’ve always had the feeling that German agencies are a lot stricted than others…

Felicity - an aupair September 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I am not german, but I was in the same situation…. they recejted a lot od applicants because stuff like Tonsillitis etc. what is ridiculous… ( I dont know any person who never been sick in life)

CA mom to twins September 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I’m sure the candidate is great and probably could work out ok. However, in the back of my mind, I would always worry about what she is doing with the kids and if her depression is affecting her judgement and ability to care for the kids.

Seattle Mom September 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I just wrote a long response, and my computer ate it. Here is the gist of my brilliant comment:

-I think a diagnosis of depression should not rule a candidate out, but you should keep it in mind and pay extra attention to references, and make sure the AP has experience dealing well with stressful situations.

-Get the scoop on her diagnosis & treatment- how bad was her depressive episode? Was it just a bad period, does she have good perspective on it? Since she mentioned it on her application, it’s fair game to discuss in an interview.

-It’s really hard to say how this would play out in an AP situation- some would just be more susceptible to the blues but they might manage it so well you wouldn’t even know. Others may end up needing a 911 call, like MilitaryHM’s story.

-I have some personal experience- I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety in the past, and was on medication for a short time 10 years ago. And mine stems from “family relationship issues,” and my lack of relationship with my father is a big part of it (though he doesn’t get all the blame). And I think I would have been fine as an AP- when I was younger the depression tended to manifest by making me a bit more introverted than ideal, and sometimes I did stupid things to try to feel loved. But honestly, I was a good student, generally well-liked, worked hard, and people liked me wherever I went. I think I could have done better as a Peace Corps Volunteer, but I finished my 2 years of service without any real problems- so I think I could have been an AP too. And I’m the kind of person who would check that box, out of honesty.

-There are probably a lot of AP candidates who have had depression and didn’t even know it, and others who won’t disclose it.

Reb September 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Very well said Seattle Mom, I do not believe anyone should be ruled out becasue of depression. It is about how the have dealt with the illness, how was it treated (medication, counselling etc), how she dealt with it and what her take on it now is.

I know host parents lead busy lives and it may be difficult to consider au pairs with ‘difficult’ backgrounds because of the extra time on assessing the au pair and investgating the circumstances and current situation of the au pair.

OP, it is really nice to hear that you are considering this girl despite her background. People who have mental health backgrounds faces so much stigma – even looking at some of the posts here about au pair agencies not accepting people whos been to therapy!

I do not know in what context she mentioned not having any contact with her dad, but if it was out of context I would look into it further.

Have a discussion with the girl asking her both about the depression and about her dad – sometimes it looks really bad on paper but in reality she may only have been going through the process and being honest when talking about her life.

PA AP Mom September 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm

The big thing I think about is, will be so far away from family and friends for such a long period of time influence her depression?

Former Au Pair Viki October 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

That is exactly what I thought. If being away from her dad depressed her, what will happen when she is away from EVERYONE she is familiar with.

German Au-Pair September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I know a lovely woman who has been diagnosed and treated for a serious anxiety disorder. She has lived abroad several times and she is a wonderful teacher now, even though sometimes this disorder affecty her job (not in relation to the children but to other job related stress).
I would give the candidate a chance and ask her upfront about what happened, how it was treated, how it affects her now, what kind of stressfull situations she has experienced and if and how it affected her then. It might be uncomfortable for her but I’m sure she will worry about not getting any family because of that and therefore might be happy that someone asks at all.

Anon September 25, 2012 at 6:38 am

I worked for a time on a crisis help line, here’s what I think.

-depression varies, it can be very very mild, to debilitating. It can be a one time event, or a recurring theme in someone’s life. This young woman was only diagnosed once for a period of three months.
-how was she treated? Is she still on medication? If she was, but not anymore, was it by her doctor’s advice that she went off it?
-what were her symptoms? This sounds like she had difficulty sleeping, so she went to her doctor who sussed out that there were relationship issues and diagnosed her with depression, and after three months it was overcome. In this scenario it is hardly a red flag, who hasn’t gone through a rough patch?
-look for a help line that services your area, make it available to her. It could be some discreet thing like their magnet stuck to your fridge before her arrival
- can provide you with information about suicide, as well as how to handle someone you think is suicidal. **By what I’ve read, she doesn’t sound suicidal, not everyone who has suffered from depression is at risk for suicide.

You really need to know if she is still on medication, or ever was. As what has already been said, it is dangerous for someone to spontaneously go off medication.

If you look at how depression is diagnosed, you will find that a lot of people fit the criteria, maybe even yourself at one point in your life. It took her some amount of strength and self-awareness to make it publicly known, especially when you think of the stigma attached to mental illness.

I think you just need more information, but it shouldn’t disqualify her.

Stephanie September 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

Depression can be nothing to really serious. I personally had depression ongoing for a year, nothing very serious, but a year later I am an AU pair and never been happier. Separating myself from my town and those people. Being surrounded by a whole new lifestyle that is supportive and living is the best thing for it.
I think if you are worried just ask her about it. How serious it is. How long it been going and things like that. See whether a new job and lifestyle will work.

Taking a Computer Lunch September 25, 2012 at 8:03 am

As someone who grew up with a parent who suffered from a series of serious depressions until medication mitigated them, I don’t think suffering from one depressive event should automatically disqualify her, as long as you are able to discuss it candidly with her in your interview process. (On the other hand, I felt that I had to grow up early and take responsibility for myself younger than I might have otherwise.)

If she remains on medication in her home country, talk with her openly about how she intends to remain on the medication during the course of her au pair year. What other support does she think she’ll need to have a successful year?

In my personal experience, mental health care is not done well in this country, although it is far more accessible to people with both money and/or good health insurance. If you find yourself seriously interested in this candidate after the interview process, then quiz your agency. Does the AP health insurance cover mental health? If she finds that she needs counseling, will she have access to it? (The number of psychologists doing pro bono work is going down.)

If you have a good LCC, then talk to her too. Chances are she has had tons of experience with au pairs who have had depressive episodes. She’ll be able to tell you based on her experience whether the candidate is likely to manage a successful year or not.

My final consideration would be – when this candidate had problems sleeping due to her depression, did her grades go down? Did she withdraw from activities at school? Because the last thing you want, as a HM, is to deal with a partially functioning AP. If she had the energy to function during her previous episode, then chances are she will again. No au pair is perfect, but will you worry the entire year if she lives with you?

newhostmom September 25, 2012 at 9:43 am

Great question. I too have suffered from depression when I was a young adult (undiagnosed, but looking back, definitely) and have patterns of depressed feelings and anxiety when things are going poorly. I’ll admit that I would feel concerned about an au pair’s ability to handle the difficult things about the au pair experience if she had had a recent episode of depression. I know when I was experiencing depression, I would have been a terrible au pair. Now perhaps I was worse of than some, but it would give me pause just to think back to some of the ways I felt and some of the things that I did. I think I wouldn’t discount the au pair right away, but I would definitely want to ask some open tough questions about how she was planning to manage her depression, home sickness, etc.

Busy Mom September 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

In searching for new au pairs, I try to minimize complications. Hosting an AP is challenging enough without knowingly introducing conditions that will make the relationship more complicated. To me, this medical history is a complication – as are dietary restrictions, having a boyfriend at home, religious beliefs that would excessivly infringe on our routine (once interviewed a nanny who said she would not participate in any way in Halloween – imagine explaining that to a 3yo…), etc. Everyone family has their own set of issues that they place in this category.

I can understand wanting to be generous, give this candidate the benefit of the doubt, and not discriminate against someone with a mental illness – that’s certainly how we would want to be treated during a job interview. However, I’m driven by practical considerations.

There are many, many candidates and you have kids in a wonderful age range to attract an AP. (i.e., interactive without all the physical work) Personally, I’d pass on her.

TexasFourTimeHostMom September 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

Ok, I’m probably self centered, but I would look for another candidate unless you have time to throughly explore what depression means in the context of this young woman’s life.

Emerald City HM September 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

There are a few things I would be concerned about:

– How recent the episode was.

– Her age and maturity level in recognizing she may be starting another episode (did her mom see it and make her go in or did she ask to go in).

– This may be just me, this may be translation, but I personally find use of the word daddy instead of dad or father, well, different. I completely realize it may be me.

– I would also be concerned about what kind of relationship this girl may need from a father figure in the house for the year.

newhostmom September 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The “daddy” thing struck me as odd too. In a sort of related question, I would be interested in hearing experiences from host parents of au pairs whose fathers were not in the picture or whose au pair had a poor father figure. Anyone?

Returning HM September 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Our last AP had a fraught relationship with her father; he had left home when she was three, leaving her mom with three toddlers, one of whom had significant special needs. During the year she was with us, the father would call maybe once a month. He always called on our house phone, which AP never answered, and he was never available when she called him back. The first time he called, she turned white when I played her the voicemail, which led to a long conversation about him. We have had several conversations since, including last week when she chose not to go to his wedding to his new wife (she is back home now).

Her relationship – or lack thereof – with her dad did not affect her ability to bond with my husband, though. I think the presence of an “uncle” (not really her uncle but a male friend of her mom’s – not a romantic partner, but a friend) in her life certainly provided a strong model for her of male involvement, and she was not angry about “men” in general at all. She did talk very seriously though about how being in our family and seeing the significant role my husband plays in the lives of his children made her more angry and more sad about what she had not had as a child. It also made her demand more of her boyfriend, which hopefully will have lasting implications as they do plan to marry and have children together at some point.

Overall, she was a great AP and her lack of fatherly support/involvement didn’t affect her ability to be a great AP. I will say, though, that the quote from the OP’s candidate about not having a relationship with her “daddy” gave me much pause, and I don’t think I would be eager to invite those kinds of issues into my house. While even as a grown woman I called my father “daddy” until the day he died, I did not refer to him to others as “daddy,” and I think the fact that this AP candidate did suggests some possible neediness and immaturity that might – MIGHT – spring from a sense of being abandoned by said father. As a PP said, the AP/HF relationship has so many challenges inherent to it. I’m not sure I would willingly embrace such an enormous challenge going in.

Used to be an AP September 26, 2012 at 10:58 am

Maybe the AP just doesn’t know enough English to know that “daddy” is not the appropiate word in this context.

Taking a Computer Lunch September 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I agree that it is likely.

Emerald City Host Mom September 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I also suspect that may be likely, which is why I stated it may be translation. :)

If I were the host mom in this situation and were to consider this au pair, I would ask questions that would answer some of my concerns as well some others mentioned by the other host mom’s on here.

Returning HM September 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Obviously OP will assess whether it’s a language thing or an undercurrent — if she wants to know more.

Should be working September 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

All four of our APs have had non-present, or problematically present, dads.

First AP had no dad in the picture; she was the one I thought was depressed and had weird eating habits, and we went into rematch. I don’t know that she had issues with the absent dad, but the mother seemed nuts and was clearly one reason the AP had become an AP, i.e. to escape.

Second one had a very present dad–who, I discovered after some months, was quite violent to her and her mother frequently for her whole life; she seemed to have a bout of depression when we moved, she did not seem to have issues with my husband at all, had some stubbornness and defiance but honestly given what I eventually found out about her she was admirably on top of her emotional life.

Third au pair had a loving, gentle, large family. And then right after we matched, her father committed suicide. I debated whether we should cancel the match, but in my contact with her she seemed so mature and just as wonderful as she had been during matching. She turned out great.

Fourth au pair had a barely-present father as a young child, he left and died. Stepdad seems fairly removed.

Sometimes I wonder if there really is so much drama out there, or if I just end up choosing it.

Should be working September 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Two of the four APs we have had seemed to me to have problems of depression. One ended up going to rematch because she seemed so sullen, unhappy, withdrawn and odd (eating only when we were all in bed). The other seemed to get depressed when we moved to a new place, she even acknowledged that she had had “a bad phase like this” before but refused to consider it worthy of medical treatment. So part of my interview, no matter what the medical forms say, is attempting to figure out if the AP has a problem with depression (or anxiety). I ask what happens when they feel sad, how do they manage it, what were some of the hardest phases in their life. I feel like I have very good depression-antennas and want to avoid introducing that into the kids’ lives now.

Also, I know well the medical system in the country we take au pairs from, and taking medication for depression or going to therapy are considered a BIG deal there, much less easily admitted than here. So if an AP candidate said she had been diagnosed with depression I would actually assume it was MAJOR, otherwise it would not have been diagnosed or treated.

Anon September 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

My two cents on diagnosed depression in an app – We were rematched with an au pair who asked for re-match “due to long hours.” I called the host mom before we matched and she, a pediatrition, told me of the girl’s apparent depression with lots of examples. I was shocked and told the agency that I wouldn’t be matching. The agency then said that it was sour grapes from the mom and they recommended the match. I matched and, in the end, I should have listened to my gut (and the first mom) -it was a disaster (terrific mood swings, screaming at my children, blank/dark looks, childlike behavior). Listen to what it sounds to me like your gut is telling you – move on. It’s not worth it when there are others out there that will be a good fit.

CA Host Mom September 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I seriously agree with going with your gut – whichever way that is. Personally, I would probably pass on this situation as I wouldn’t be quite sure how to support her if she did relapse into some sort of seriously depressed state.

kat September 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

dont know that much about depression as such but can say something from experience. I have had father relationships issues for years (without realising it at first) and despite that i had great times as an aupair/nanny . it might give her a chance to be herself, a grown up away from her family and be a lot stronger than she is at home. i very likely had a bout of depression some time ago (caused by other issues) and it has not affected the job i had after that.
i realise it is very individual and it might not work this way for her but it does for me.
good luck in talking to her.

Angie Host Mom September 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Actually, the “no relationship with my daddy” comment would be enough put her in the no pile for me.

Because it is an odd choice of what to disclose. Sleep disturbances is ok…relationship issues would be ok…But the candidate felt the need to communicate to a bunch of stranger host families that she doesn’t have any relationship with daddy.

It’s like one au pair letter I read where the candidate said she had experience taking care of her friend’s child while her friend was visiting the child’s father in jail – and “he’s not guilty!” Just, why go there? Unless you are telling us it is an important part of how you think and feel about things, there isn’t a reason to go into the details.

The lack of common sense in communicating in a job application letter unnecessary information that is just going to raise eyebrows distract from the quality of the candidate. I also think the little comments are often the most telling – I’ve found with my own au pairs that the little just odd things they said in their letters and disclosures often foreshadowed bigger things that would be the things we had to work on or around when they were here.

I dunno, could be fine, but I’d move on.

German Au-Pair September 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

The agency might push an au pair to disclose more than she’d like to about a thing like that to explain the condition better. Saying you were diagnosed with depression because you don’t sleep well might strike people as weird; saying it’s because of your estranged father is something, people might understand and relate to. I’d just talk to her and see how she responds in person before I’d make a judgement about that.
Buts yes, your jail-story is hillarious!

Arg Au Pair to be September 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

I think if she was sort of what I was looking for, I would interview her and let her know it is a concern to me. I am in the matching process and last week I asked one of the families interviewing me if they celebrated Christmas because in their letter they didn’t mention anything to do with religion, and Christmas means a lot to me. They answered they do and it means a lot to them too, but they didn’t mention anything about it for me not to feel uncomfortable if I didn’t. So I am glad now I asked them because if I hadn’t they could have thought I didn’t, and those kind of misunderstandings are the ones I want to avoid.
What I am saying with this is that you can always ask and decide later on taking the answer and other things into account.
I would also like to add that if you do interview her and then decide not to call her again, you should let her know why. I would personally prefer the truth, as ugly as it is, rather than a “you are not our perfect match” When one of the families told me that they were going to match the other candidate because she had asked them to do it, after I cried like a baby I answered the e-mail asking them what could I improve in my APR, but they haven’t answered yet, and I don’t think they will.
To sum up, my personal opinion is that if you think she is what you are expecting, talk to her, ask her everything you are curious/concerned about and then decide, and if you decide she is not the one for you, let her know why. :)

BritAP September 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

Im currently an AP in the USA. 2 years ago I suffered from depression which was directly related to my job at the time. I was on medication for 8 months and changed jobs and then my illness was no longer a problem. When I applied to be an Au Pair a year later my interviewer asked many questions about it and insisted on a check up with my doctor and written confirmation from the doctor they they longer thought it was an issue.

So now you know my background I think, in my opinion, that you shouldn’t rule out an AP just because she has a background of sprees ion but at the same time I think you need to asses the reasons for it at that time and ask questions about it to asses if depression could be an issue again. In this case it sounds like the girl has huge abandonment issues and I wonder if she is going to be able to handle a year way fro
Everyone she’s knows and the stress of an AP job.

My depression was circumstantial and is no longer an issue and I think I am a very good AP and so glad it didn’t affect my application in the end. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

New Host Mom September 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

I agree that it depends a lot on the country that the applicant is from and the health system there. Here, a number of antidepressants are given pretty commonly for insomnia, and it doesn’t necessarily correlate with the severity of the illness. Since she says “at the moment no signs of illness,” you could probably consider asking her a little bit about what her signs of illness were – did she stop going to school or work? Stop spending time with friends or family? Then how does she manage stress or relationship issues now that allows her to function now? If the lack of current issues is mainly related to a lack of stress, that would be harder for me to get past than if she had good ideas about how to manage issues that arise.

anonamomma October 20, 2012 at 10:46 am

We’ve had a comment pool on something like this before and I’ll say the same thing now as I did then…

No absolutely not, imo she should not even be allowed in the programme, she should not even be allowed apply..

Being a HM is hard enough, we as families are looking for as less stress as possible and we are not here to “fix”/”help” out young ladies/people who need it – the AP programme is not a “support” programme.

There you have it – this girl has “daddy” issues, just how might they manifest themselves in a HF situation is completely unknown. What if she walks into a Brady bunch family and the father is everything a dad should be, will she be jealous, resentful, imagine the HF dealing with this.

Will this girl need to continue therapy? who pays for this? what about medication? On the last post I said that I would not like anybody who is medicated to look after my children (in an AP setting) I stand by this. What if she chooses to come off her meds during the AP year. What if she chooses to discontinue therapy.

Or what if she is just plain homesick, and goes through the natural down week that most APs go through during week 3 of 4? And like a comment about just can’t take it anymore, do you want your children to see this?

Seriously lads, I am not being mean but there is a reason why there are exclusions to the programme and these are there to protect the HFs as much as the APs and they should be adhered to – especially mental health issues.

Because at the end of the day the job involves taking care of and being responsible for young children/babies for extended periods of time. It is extremely stressful and requires tons of inner calm… and when you have an AP who cannot handle these stresses the results can be disastrous – and dangerous – for all concerned.

So I say no…

europair October 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm

As someone who has struggled with depression all my life (and currently takes medication for depression), I was able to successfully complete a year as an Au Pair. She may be able to, as well.

For me, depression has less to do with a momentary sadness and more to do with a chemical imbalance that runs in my family. I wouldn’t say that my home life has always been wonderful, either, but it isn’t what drives my depression. I have simply realized that I function better when I have the help of antidepressants.

If you would still like to consider this candidate, look at the other things that she has been able to accomplish in her life. Is she a college graduate? Does she excel in school or some other area (sports, art, etc)? If she has been able to successfully complete other things, why wouldn’t she be able to complete an Au Pair year?

That said, from the brief description of her (the “no relationship with daddy” comment, especially), I’m not sure she is the best candidate. Perhaps the rules are different for Au Pairing outside of the US, but I just did not disclose that depression had ever been a problem for me. Depression did not impact my school career and it would be illegal for US employers to ask the status of my mental health, so I did not see the need to speak about it. It did not seem relevant, as it is something that I have under control. The fact that she disclosed so much about this shows that perhaps it is still an issue.

Good luck in your search!

anonamomma October 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

Enough said – there are reasons why people with mental health issues are not allowed in the programme.

There is just not enough support (you are there to support the HF – not the other way around).

You are in an unsupervised, super pressurized setting and sometimes even the calmest, most zen of us are completely out of our depth.

You need inner calm and plenty of it and if you don’t have any to spare then this is not for you…

Victoria October 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I’ve suffered with depression since I was 12 years old. I was very upfront about it with my host family when we were in the interview process. I think whether or not you accept an applicant depends on how well she has her mental illness under control. Does she have coping skills? How will she handle being so far from home? If she’s on medication, is it easily available in your country?

CaAuPair June 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I would just straight up ask her everything about it. I am now currently an au pair in the US, and have had a mild depression for 4 months a few years back and was medicated those months.

I applied at a agency, but they thought I needed more time, while I then applied to another agency and they explained that I might have difficulty finding a family, but they accepted me. I am happy here, and really needed to get away from everything, so maybe she will be a good au pair too? But many families are just very quick to judge. I had a LOT of matches, where most of them were already gone before I had the chance to check it out, so I already know why. But the one family that actually DID ask me about the depression ended up wanting me.

SO I would say give it a shot, ask her. And then if you don’t like her answer, just tell her that you’re not comfortable letting her care for your kids. I would have loved all the families to ask me about it, so I had the chance to tell the story, since it might look worse on print than it actually is.

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