Adolescent Depression Video Podcast

Adolescent Depression Video Podcast


Eleven percent of children and adolescents will experience depression at some point in their lives. Depression is the third leading cause of mental illness in adolescents. Depression can reduce quality of life and increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Even though depression is common, a lot of people have questions about it. The purpose of this webinar is to answer some of those questions. We would also like to provide some ways that schools and parents can help adolescents who are experiencing symptoms of depression. First things first, what is depression? Depression is more than just feeling sad. Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest. It also negatively influences how people think, feel, and behave. Teens experiencing depression often feel that there are barriers to finding help. In fact, only a small percentage of depressed adolescents receive mental health services. Some common barriers are the perception of mental health stigma and concerns about treatment cost. There are risk and protective factors associated with adolescent depression. A risk factor is factor that makes a certain outcome more likely. On the other hand, a protective factor makes a certain outcome less likely. So, risk factors are things that make the chances of depression higher, while protective factors make it lower. Some risk factors for depression include things like: Frequent and heavy alcohol consumption Use of marijuana and other illegal drugs Tobacco use Dieting Negative media use Negative coping strategies Exposure to stress and trauma These things do not guarantee that a teen will experience depression, but they make it more likely. On the other hand, things like healthy diet, Getting enough sleep Parental supervision and support Emotional self-control Self-acceptance And an optimistic future view have been found to decrease the likelihood of depression. Some groups, such as LGBTQ adolescents, have additional risk and protective factors for depression. For example, stress associated with hiding one’s identity and parental rejection are risk factors for depression in LGBTQ youth. On the other hand, being “out of the closet” and support of family and friends are protective factors. But, how can schools and parents help? Adolescents spend a huge chunk of their time at school. This makes schools a key setting for depression prevention and intervention programs. These school programs fall into three categories: universal, selective and indicated programs. Universal Programs are provided to all students within a school. For example, the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program is a universal program aimed at education about adolescent depression and reducing stigma. Beyond Blue is another program that is aimed at generally aiding skills such as coping, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Selective Programs are aimed at students with high risk of depression such as students who have a parent with mental health issues or students who have recently lost a parent to death or to incarceration An example of a selective program may be a school-based grief support group. Indicated Programs are designed for students who are currently experiencing symptoms of depression. An example of an indicated program is the Adolescent Coping with Depression Course, which is aimed at helping participants learn to gain control over the way they feel, learn “life skills”, and overcome depression. Parents play an important role when their child is experiencing symptoms of depression. Here are some specific things that parents can do: Look out for signs of depression, such as your child not seeming to care about anything anymore, sleeping less than usual or oversleeping, or being uncharacteristically sad or irritable Start a conversation, but be sure to listen compassionately and non-judgmentally rather than trying to “fix” your child. Say things like “You are important to me” or “You are not alone in this” Encourage your child to seek help, such as a doctor or a therapist Studies have shown that school-based interventions can in fact reduce or prevent mental disorders in adolescents. By creating supporting, accepting, and being open with their child, parents can also help protect against adolescent depression and to identify depression early when it does occur. Here are some other ways to help:

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