Mental health care is helpful for teens with depressive symptoms, says study

Depression is not a normal part of growing up. Parents all too often dismiss the signs of depression as normal teen moodiness, causing them to neglect seeking professional treatment. Others hesitate to get help due to the associated stigma or financial constraints. However, delay in treatment can result in unnecessary suffering, addiction, worsening of mental illness or even suicide. According to a recent study, teens suffering from such problems can benefit from receiving mental health care services.

Getting access to mental health care

The study suggested that teens who have access to mental health care services have far fewer symptoms of depression during adolescence than those who do not. The researchers at the University of Cambridge recruited 1,238 14-year-olds and their caregivers in the United Kingdom. They analyzed their contact with mental health services and the teens’ mood and feelings. The participants were also assessed for affective disorders like depression, anxiety and schizophrenia symptoms. Measures were taken at baseline and repeated after 18 and 36 months.

At the start of the study, 126 (11 percent) teens were diagnosed with mental illness. However, after three years, even those with a mental illness had about the same levels of depressive symptoms as the ones who were not mentally ill.

By 17 years, the odds of being clinically depressed was over seven times greater in teens who did not access mental health care services.

Depressive thoughts can make one contemplate suicide

Emphasizing on the importance of early intervention, author Sharon Neufeld, research associate in the Department of Psychiatry, said, “Mental illness can be a terrible burden on individuals, but our study shows clearly that if we intervene at an early stage, we can see potentially dramatic improvements in adolescents’ symptoms of depression and reduce the risk that they go on to develop severe depressive illness.”

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and the rate of suicide among teens continues to rise. Of those who commit suicide, at least 90 percent have an underlying mental health problem like depression. Some common signs of depression are:

  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Change in eating, sleeping or exercising habits
  • Sadness and withdrawal from friends and family
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
  • Poor grades or other problems at school

Seeking early treatment

If you or a teen you love has symptoms of depression or other mental health problem, effective treatment is available. Adolescence should be a time of self-discovery, excitement and planning for the future. Good mental health care can help ensure that teens are on the right path to a long and healthy life.

At White River Academy, we integrate multidisciplinary strategies to promote lasting physical and behavioral health in young men aged 12 to 17. When treatment becomes necessary, the White River Academy in beautiful Delta, Utah offers state-of-the-art care, education and growth opportunities for a brighter future. We emphasize on healthy lifestyle habits and cognitive rehabilitation. Our recovery management program offers ongoing support and recovery management. Our financial counselors can provide insurance solutions, resources and information about how to access the best care possible. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline.

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