The Kids Aren’t? All Right

Sunday, once again. Why does it feel like it’s always Sunday and I’m always at work? Anyhow, it’s weekly roulette time…  Today I am moved to the third floor, very back shelf. Nobody is here to give me numbers so I just took a random walk. Today I have pulled:

Handbook of Serious Emotional Disturbances in Children and Adolescents. Edited by Diane T. Marsh and Mary A Fristad. This is a handbook, so it’s pretty boring to read, and each section is written like a very long journal article.

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This is another not so pleasant subject. Let’s open it up to a random passage and see where this takes us:

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Next to cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT) is the best supported psycho-social treatment for adolescent depression. Two groups of investigators are currently studying the efficacy of IPT in depressed adolescents, and initial results have been very promising. Further controlled studies are needed to replicate the findings and to allow generalization to non-Hispanic populations (Marsh & Fristad, 2002).

I don’t even know what that just said. I have no idea. In another life I would have like to have been a psychologist or put more time into studying human behavior and psychological disturbances. I mean I guess it’s not too late to learn something now. What is IPT? How can it help our young ones?

Interpersonal psychotherapy

Interpersonal therapies help patients understand their symptoms in terms of the impact they have on others (and, in turn, on themselves); they also help patients develop interpersonal styles and communication behaviors that are more direct and effective. In this regard, interpersonal therapies are quite behavioral in focus, even though they do not rely as explicitly on learning theory as the behavioral therapies do. The treatment series, which usually lasts less than one year, begins with the identification of interpersonal problems that are likely to be related to a patient’s current experience of depression. Problems are typically categorized as stemming from grief, conflicts, major life transitions, or personality problems relating to social skills. Once these areas are identified, treatments focus on therapeutic interventions (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017).

So basically what this is saying is that this helps a person who is experiencing depression to identify certain problems in their lives that may be related to events that have occurred to them (transitions, life changing events) or things that may be happening within them (problems with social skills). Then shows the impact that their behaviors have on themselves and others around them and helps them to develop healthier and more direct communication methods and ways to relate to others. I can see how this would be especially helpful for a teenager or child, as they are developing how they interact with the world around them and inside of themselves. Offering a child or adolescent that is experiencing depression this type of therapy could allow them to develop new skills earlier in life that could keep them from experiencing further depressive episodes into adulthood.

Depression sucks, and it’s a pretty prevalent part of our landscape these days. As an adult looking back adolescence was one of the hardest times of my life. (OK it’s actually JUST getting better now that I’m in my 30’s.) I can’t imagine how things have changed for these children now with the flood of constant media through smartphones. I searched for some statistics, and came across this one that was rather troubling.

statistic_id222124_us-high-school-students-suffering-from-depression-by-gender-and-ethnicity

These numbers were pulled by the CDC to reflect how many students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities.

This sucks. 46.7% of all Hispanic female high school students reported having symptoms of depression? That’s almost half of the student base. For a total of 29.9% of all high school students in the US feeling this way. Schools are full of politics. This is one of the reasons that I decided to NOT go into teaching back in my heyday, but I think that we may need to direct more attention towards the mental health of our adolescents. After all, they become the next generation to shape our world. I’ve heard something recently about wise decisions being made and that the wisest ones are made to consider how what we do will affect us seven generations out. If we decide now to help our youth today with these problems, how will it affect them, and us, and their children and grandchildren and so on? Teaching children young about these problems, and how to seek help, and that they are not alone can be a very powerful thing that could cause a ripple effect of overall better life conditions for many generations. A little could go a long way.

So yep, here we go again with a bit of a downer. But life (like libraries) are full of all sorts of things both light and heavy. But I think that the more light is shed on an issue, and the more that we know about it, the more we can cast off the darkness. Do you know a teenager, is there an adolescent or young person in your life going through a rough time right now? Reach out, buy them some ice cream, or send them some puppy memes. Let them know that you are there for them, and if they are feeling this low, how they can get help and why it’s important.

 

CDC. (n.d.). Percentage of U.S. high school students who felt sad or hopeless* in 2015, by gender and ethnicity. In Statista – The Statistics Portal. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/222124/us-students-with-depression-by-gender-and-ethnicity/.

Marsh, D. & Fristad, M. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of Serious Emotional Disturbances. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mental disorder. (2017). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://0-academic.eb.com.leopac.ulv.edu/levels/collegiate/article/109830#259966.toc

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