Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Primary Prevention of Depression in Adolescents: An Introduction to New Approaches to Promote Resilience and Personal Growth

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Primary Prevention of Depression in Adolescents: An Introduction to New Approaches to Promote Resilience and Personal Growth

Article excerpt

In this rapidly changing world, increasing competitiveness with stressful environment, children and adolescents are becoming more prone to develop mental illnesses. Promoting positive mental health especially in children and adolescents is almost every country's primary concern. Children and adolescents are the precious emerging future assets of any country. This is very true in Indian scenario as India is a rapidly developing country. They are the important part of nation building and that is why Government is paying more attention to their foundations. However, in promoting the well-being in adolescents government and policy makers seem to be lacking in this area. The global and optimal functioning of this population may foster the adequate assimilation and adaptation to rapidly changing stressful environment. Moreover the above concerns are paid less attention and continue to remain unattended in our country. Every child is bom with ability to bounce back from adversities, irrespective of individual differences; and hence the main aim of this article to introduce new approaches which can cultivate the positive qualities and build or strengthen the resilience factors which will in turn facilitate the flexibility in overall functioning among the adolescents.

Depression in children and adolescents is a significant public health problem in terms of its prevalence, suffering, impairment, morbidity, and economic burden. In India, Srinath et al. (2005) reported a prevalence rate of 12.5% among children aged 0-16 years. However, in a study evaluating the trend of various diagnoses in clinic population, Malhotra et al. (2007) reported increase in prevalence of affective disorders from 2% to 13.49% in children (0-14 years) attending the psychiatric outpatient clinics while overall in world, prevalence rates of depression have gradually increased, especially in adolescents (O'Connor et al., 2009). Another study from north India reported an annual incidence rate of 1.61/1000 children in a community based study on school children (Malhotra et al., 2009).

According to Prevention Committee of National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2009) most mental disorders have their onsets during childhood or adolescence. In fact, 75% of all adult mental health disorders have their onset by age 24, and 50% of adult disorders have an onset by age 14 which further necessitate the need for PP. Moreover, early-onset depression increases the risk for subsequent depressive episodes during adolescence and adulthood, and studies show recurrence rates between 45% and 75% over a 3 to 7 year period in these developmental stages (Horowitz & Garber, 2006; Weisz et al., 2006). So, there have been significant efforts to identify the most effective therapeutic approaches to treat depression in these developmental stages, because of its association with a significant impairment of optimal functioning (Weisz et al., 2006).

Since children and adolescent form 40% of the total population of India (Anita et al., 2007) approximately fourty crores of the population require professional help which in turn necessitate the group and community based primary prevention interventions. Thus, increase in invisible mental problems of depression and suicidal attempts in adolescents emphasizes the need to prioritize and make a paradigm shift in the strategies to promote and provide appropriate mental health services in the school and community at primary or early intervention level.

Level ofprevention

PP is related to public health framework which emphasizes the collective well being of normal population, including preventive measures, stigma reduction and education. According to the Institute of Medicine (1994) report, there are three categories of preventive interventions on the basis of the populations to whom the interventions are directed: universal, selective, and indicated. Universal preventive interventions target the general public or community regardless of risk. …

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