Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Depression Education Effective for Some Teens

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Depression Education Effective for Some Teens

Article excerpt

In an assessment of their Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, which has been taught to tens of thousands, Johns Hopkins researchers say the program achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer.

The program provides selected high school teachers a curriculum geared toward students in ninth or 10th grade in the required health education classes. The researchers say the program was designed to prevent suffering at a time when adolescent depression rates are on the rise and many believe awareness, early recognition, and effective therapies can lead to better outcomes.

The curriculum focuses on how to recognize symptoms of depression and how clinical depression is diagnosed and treated. It also seeks to take the stigma out of acknowledging and treating depression and recognizes that suicide can be a consequence of depression.

Now in its 19th year, ADAP has been taught to more than 80,000 high school students.The six-hour training for ADAP instructors is in-person and the three-hour program is taught to students in two to three consecutive classes. Tools include lectures, videos, group activities, and homework.

For the evaluation, the researchers looked at data collected from 2012 to 2015 from 6,679 high school students in 54 high schools in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Schools were matched and paired for analysis, with one school teaching the curriculum and the other school not teaching it, to serve as a control group for comparison. In all, 2,998 students were in the control group and 3,681 students were taught the ADAP curriculum.

All students filled out the Adolescent Depression Knowledge Questionnaire and the Reported and Intended Behavior Scale just before starting the curriculum, six weeks after taking the course, and four months after the classes to assess improvements in depression literacy and mental health stigma. …

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