Group therapy helps teens struggling with depression


Mental health issues were reduced by 25 to 33 percent percent over 24 months when British youth attended two 90-minute therapy sessions.

"Almost one in four American 8- to 15-year-olds has experienced a mental health disorder over the past year," said Dr. Patricia Conrod of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre.

"We know that these disorders are associated with a plethora of negative consequences," she added. "Our study shows that teacher delivered interventions that target specific risk factors for mental health problems can be immensely effective at reducing the incidence of depression, anxiety and conduct disorders in the long term.”

Modified talk therapy by trained teachers

Researchers looked for candidates for intervention among those who reported impulsivity, hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity and sensation seeking. Among the 19 schools that participated, teachers were trained in intervention conditions including cognitive-behavioral strategies for managing one’s personality profile. Groups discussed thoughts, emotions and behaviors. They identified situational triggers with the aid of a trained teacher.

After two years, students were asked to complete questionnaires every six months. These forms enabled the researchers to establish the development of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, conduct problems and suicidal thoughts. The effects were significant. Between 21 and 26 percent showed a reduction in severe depression, anxiety and conduct problem symptoms during the trial. Teens who reported high impulsivity showed a 33 percent reduced chance of severe anxiety problems.

“The interventions were run by trained educational professionals, suggesting that this brief intervention can be both effective and sustainable when run within the school system,” Conrod explained. “We are now leading similar study in 32 high schools in Montreal to further test the efficacy of this kind of programme.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Montreal


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