Depression in Children and Teens
Depression in Children and Teens
According to Williams &Teasdale (2012) depression is a black dog that robs us of our joy and it’s the unquiet mind that keeps us awake all night. Depression can also be defined as medical disorder that that causes a person to persistently feel sad, low or disinterested in daily activities.
Depression is a major mental health concern that has a great impact on the social well-being and physical health of any individual. The consequences are felt very strongly by adolescents and teens as they are known to cause high blood pressure, obesity and suicide. Guyol (2006) states that depression may affect the mental health of children and this may lead to great changes in the day-to-day functioning of the body and such changes can be seen in an alteration in the sleep patterns of teenagers whereby they may have a problem in falling and staying asleep or sleep much longer than they are used to.
Depressive disorders in children affects about 15% of all the adolescence and children by the age of 18 (Goldman & Wren, 2012) such disorders include rebellion towards authority .some teachers are known to show little interest in school work leading to dropping out while others can also become increasingly spiteful and vindictive leading to problems with others around them.
It is clear that there exists some to differences as it relates to depression and its impacts and prevalence both to white and African American kids. Some figures suggest that depression is higher among the white teenagers compared to African American Youth but some other studies suggest otherwise but what is equivocal is that African American teenagers have some unmet needs as it relates to treatment of depression. According to a study done in Atlanta, a south eastern estate with a black population of about 38% African Americans, the study found out that although of the teens interviewed had expressed signs of depression such as feeling low, sad and stressed they couldn’t call it depression and they were also hesitant to label their peers as depressed (Burris, et al,. 2010). This is a clear sign that there is need for intervention measures to be taken to address the issue of of depression among the youth especially African American teenagers in Atlanta.
According to (Parks, 2013) in his theory response styles theory it states that how people respond to their depression symptoms determines the severity and duration. He goes further to explain that people respond to stressful situations and events in three ways and that is rumination, problem solving and distraction. Rumination focuses on the symptoms, their causes and impacts without taking any steps to solve or relieve them and this enhances this negative feelings creating a vicious cycle while problem solving is whereby the someone is actively trying to change an unfavorable situation and relieve the symptoms/Finally, distraction is engaging in a pleasant activity that is engrossing to divert attention from the depressive symptoms such activities can include sports or being a volunteer at a children’s’ home.
According to (Naylor, 2009) African Americans families face greater challenges in access to mental health care compared to white families the African American families are less likely to seek medical care as an initial first step. This apathy is noted in their hesitancy to take part in mental health research. Some of the reasons that have contributed to these include lack of transportation, lack of or poor child care, poor compensation and other life crises. Therefore one intervention strategy that might help in promotion of proper mental health care is to involve and utilize local leaders to facilitate and promote engagements. The local leaders are gate keepers to their communities and they best understand the concerns and needs of their own people. These local experts will also ensure that there is sustainability even after the end of the program.
Sports will be a great strategy to reach out to the community. As (Parks, 2013) puts it one of the responses to depressive symptoms is distraction and sports offers the best distraction because it is so energy sapping and engrossing and in this case I am thinking of sports such as basketball, football, hockey among others. Teenagers who have exhibited depressive symptoms will be encouraged to take up some sport and this might help them to manage or reduce the impact of depression on them. Sports stars will also be recruited as ambassadors to the of the program and their role would to help in appealing to both African American teenagers and their families who have experienced these problems to come forward so that they can receive curative assistance and they will also help to take away the stigma attached to mental illness.
The staffing of the program will mainly be done through community outreach activities such as seminars and sports days whereby community members would help to assist to recruit potential people who might be of use in the dissemination of the program .The program would need psychiatrists, counsellors, mobilisers, field officers, program officers and many others. Where there will be shortage in personnel among the local there will be need to bring experts from outside to provide direction to the local team.
Some of the things that will be needed include sports kits and balls, drugs to be used by health professionals, pens and writing materials to be used by counselors and psychiatrists. The element of a good communication will be key in rolling out the program and part of the strategy would be media appearances by organizers to create awareness about the program and social media would also play a key role. According to Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010) social media has transformed information sharing and communication has become cheaper, effortless and faster.
Some of the general objectives of the program would be to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and to promote access to health care for mental illnesses such as depression for African American teenagers and youth. Some specific goals include cutting the prevalence of depression among African American teenagers by half within a period of two years.
Goldman, S., & Wren, F. (2012). Child and adolescent depression. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders
Kaplan, A. M. and Haenlein, M. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and
opportunities of social media‘, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, Issue 1: pp.59-68
Naylor, B. (2009). Depression in children. New York: Nova Science.
Parks, P. (2013). Teen depression. Detroit: Lucent Books.
Williams, J., & Teasdale, J. (2012). The mindful way through depression: Freeing yourself from
chronic unhappiness. New York: Guilford Press
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