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Teenage Depression needs to be addressed

Posted by Francis O' Toole on February 21, 2012

Teenage Depression needs to be addressed
Friday, February 17, 2012
MORE NEEDS to be done to identify and treat adolescents with depression, according to new research.
The study, which was carried out by researchers at Cardiff University, shows that failure to intervene and provide support early on can have disastrous consequences. It says that, left untreated, adolescent depression increases the risk of suicide, substance abuse and obesity; leads to serious social and educational problems; and can result in lifelong health difficulties.
The study’s findings have been welcomed by mental health experts in Ireland, who say it could have a big impact on how adolescent depression is treated here. The research stresses that while effective treatments are available to young people, the lack of interventions and resources directed to tackling and preventing depression in many countries is a “serious concern”.
It is estimated that in any given year, 4-5 per cent of adolescents have depression, with the condition twice as common in girls as it is in boys. Most young people with depression are vulnerable to recurrent episodes, and two-thirds also have another psychiatric disorder or problems with school performance, behaviour and substance misuse.
Anthony Keane, a counsellor and teacher at Hartstown Community School in Clonsilla, Dublin 15, says the new research is timely and particularly relevant at a time when education cuts are having such an impact on schools. He says that teachers and guidance counsellors are often among the first to spot mental health problems in adolescents but warns that reduced staffing levels mean that it is proving more difficult to be able to identify young people at risk and to provide support for them. “Increasingly, guidance counsellors are being forced to return to their original subject areas because of cuts and so are no longer available to provide one-to-one counselling. This obviously has huge implications for adolescent mental health,” he says.
One of those services available to young people is, a website that provides mental health information to help adolescents through tough times. Reachout’s chief executive, Elaine Geraghty, says the new research reinforces the need for early intervention for young people struggling with problems. A study carried out by the website last year revealed that young people are more likely to seek help for mental health problems online than access traditional services.
While welcoming the new study, Dr Joseph Duffy, director of clinical support atHeadstrong, an advocacy and support group for youth mental health, echoes Geraghty’s concerns about rushing to diagnose individuals. He says there is a need to address mental health issues in the broader sense rather than just focusing on depression. “I think what’s really required is for Government to consider supporting services that reach out to people in an innovative way and for services that are informed by young people, because they know themselves what they need.”
Full article, The Irish Times.


One Response to “Teenage Depression needs to be addressed”

  1. Sarah Hayes said

    I really enjoyed this blog. I found it very informative. It is inspiring for young adolescents trying to choose a career. I look forward to your next blog.

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