Youth Depression: What’s School Got To Do With it?

December 13, 2018

The holidays are in full force, the school year is reaching its winter peak and the days are shorter – all factors that can have a heavy impact on young people who struggle with depression. This month we’ll be sharing some practical advice and insights to help you work with young clients who suffer from depression.

Mood disorders are increasingly common among children and adolescents. While anxiety tends to take root at a young age, depression can manifest at any time and can be a sneaky disorder to identify and treat. Often times clients may point to causes of short-lived emotional shifts or isolated instances of sadness, moodiness and inability to perform. As we approach the midway of the academic year, now is a great time to consider the school-based influences on depressive behavior and how the influences of peers, teachers and social pressure play into clinical depression.

When working with young clients who suffer from depression, there are a few key things to keep in mind around school-based issues. Could suffering and victimization in social environments be contributing to depression? Is the client a victim of bullying? Asking for specific stories and instances of social activity and the client’s reactions can help lead you down the path of identifying the source of socially-influenced depression, thereby helping you treat the client and make recommendations about the best environmental conditions.

Another thing to consider is the barometer for success or failure a patient may feel at school. Does the client perceive themselves to be performing above or below average academically? Are these perceptions rooted in fact or conjecture? Is the client’s performance shifting over time?

We’ve put together a helpful list of articles and publications to help you stay informed on the strongest literature and understandings of depression in schools.

Scholarly Articles
Depression, School Performance, and the Veridicality of Perceived Grades and Causal Attributions – SAGE
Bullying, depression, and suicidal ideation in Finnish adolescents: school survey – BMJ
School absenteeism and school refusal behavior in youth: A contemporary review
– Science Direct
Cognitive‐Behavioral School‐Based Interventions for Anxious and Depressed Youth: A Meta‐Analysis of Outcomes - Wiley

Publications to Share with Parents
School Refusal: What Parents Can Do
Should parents force kids with depression to do things they don’t want to do?
Identifying Teen Depression

If you feel that your young clients need to hit the reset button on school, academic performance and socializing, the START program at Casa Pacific is a great option.

Casa Pacifica’s Short-Term Adolescent Residential Treatment (START) program is designed for youth ages 9 through 17 years old and specifically addresses a wide range of mental health issues.

Contact us, or call now at (805) 366-4000.



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