Can Educational Interventions Help Prevent Depression Symptoms In Teens?

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As we’ve written about in the past, depression is something that affects many teens. It’s also oftentimes a topic that isn’t discussed as openly as it should be. Further proving the importance of discussing mental health, a new study suggests that talking to teens about depression before they start high school can have a positive impact. Research looked at the effects of a low-cost, one-time educational intervention where teens learned about personality changes and depression symptoms. Teens who attended these interventions were less likely to experience depressive symptoms, even when they were bullied.

The research took place at the University of Texas at Austin. Of course the researchers explained that such an intervention doesn’t cure depression, but it seemed to prevent an increase in depressive symptoms as these teens started high school.

Lead researcher David Scott Yeager explained,

We were amazed that a brief exposure to the message that people can change, during a key transition — the first few weeks of high school — could prevent increases in symptoms of depression. It doesn’t come close to solving the whole problem. Yet finding anything promising has the potential to be important because prevention is far better than treatment — not only for financial reasons but also because it avoids human suffering.

This is definitely an interesting research topic, and we’re big supporters of shining a light on depression — instead of shying away from it. Tying into this topic, we’re featuring a story all about teens and depression in the upcoming November/December issue of Choices magazine.


For stories about mental health and other important topics written specifically for teens, subscribe to Choices magazine.

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