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03-27 Peer-to-peer awareness program can address teen depression in schools, finds study

Posted in Depression rehab

Peer-to-peer awareness program can address teen depression in schools, finds study

Depression is a pervasive problem among American adolescents. However, a little awareness among adolescents about this mental problem can play a vital role in dealing with the issue. According to a recent study, published online in the journal Psychiatric Services in March 2018, while seeking help for themselves or others, the attitudes of students with depression can impact the treatment process.

As part of the study, researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) Depression Center conducted a detailed examination of a U-M program — Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Program or P2P — designed to be used by students and educators in 10 high schools. Use of the program manual involves no charges and can be availed online by any school. The details of 878 students obtained before and after the implementation of the program were evaluated. Post the execution of student-led depression awareness programs in their schools, the teen students were more inclined to:

  • Show confidence while identifying symptoms of depressive disorder in themselves or others
  • Ask for advice if they realized signs of depression lingering for more than two weeks
  • Realize that mental illnesses like depression may be hereditary and cannot be overcome by just “willpower”
  • Have belief in their ability of being able to help their friends avail mental health services
  • Feel less embarrassed about being seen attending the social worker’s office at school or seeking help from a psychologist
  • Look for help from alternative sources, including teacher, clergy, coach or contact helpline numbers to deal with an emotional issue
  • Discuss the commonality of mental health problems with other students in their school

The program also showed a positive impact on the mindset of the students in the sense that the presence of any new student afflicted with depression at their school did not make them feel uncomfortable. Commenting on the findings, lead author of the study Dr. Sagar Parikh, associate director of the U-M Depression Center, said, “Depression often starts early in life, so our efforts should match that. Providing education and advice on recognizing depression and anxiety, and de-stigmatizing it, begins in the schools. Our center has worked with the schools to deliver programs by students, for students, in the name of student health. And our research evaluation of the programs shows it is well-received and very helpful.”

More schools embracing P2P

The program has gained greater recognition with more schools willing to embrace it. The program uses a simple technique of “peer advocate” method to provide training to high school students in understanding the problems associated with depression and efficient ways to listen to their peers suffering from the mental disorder. The effect of this program is that it helps students connect with necessary information and associated therapeutic processes to treat the illness.

Depression is treatable

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression affected an estimated 3.1 million adolescents aged 12-17 years in 2016, thus underlining the need for focus on teen depression treatment. Not all affected teens get help, resulting in their proclivity to use alcohol and drugs. Depression problem also manifests itself in pathetic academic performance and inter-personal relationships. If not treated timely at a rehab for teenage depression, the condition can aggravate to suicidal tendencies or death by suicide.

If you or your loved one is suffering from prolonged depression, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego specializes in teenage depression treatment. For more information about our world-class teenage depression treatment centers, you may call our 24/7 helpline. You may also chat with our online counselor for more information on our teen depression rehab centers available in your vicinity.

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