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article imageNew approach for treating teens with depression

By Tim Sandle     Dec 7, 2016 in Health
Washington D.c. - Depression is a growing problem among teenagers as the pressures from schools increases, together with interactions with peer groups and from social media. The rise requires new strategies for treatment by health authorities.
Depression is a serious societal problem affecting many teenagers in the U.S. According to the National Institute of Mental Health some 2.8 million adolescents, aged between 12 and 17, suffered from one or more major depressive episodes in the year 2014 (which reflects the latest data). This represents just over 11 percent of young people in this age range.
One reason why a new approach is needed is due to the rise in costs associated with young people and depression; costs extend to families who are supporting treatment and for the young people themselves, through missed schooling.
The new approach has come from the Seattle Children's Research Institute and Group Health Cooperative. The approach is based on collaborative care. This involves using a depression care manager to work with the young person and their family, liaising with medical doctors.
The process involves, in summary:
Teens receive an initial engagement session with a clinician;
After the review, evidence-based treatments are delivered;
Sessions held in the primary care clinic;
Regular monitoring by the care manager;
Regular reporting and feedback between the teen and care manager.
The purpose of the care manager is to construct a plan to help the teen with their issues, and also to support the teen in implementing that plan. The results, according to a study, have been effective. Trials took place at Group Health Cooperative primary care clinics in Washington.
Here the lead researcher Dr. Laura Richardson explains: “we were pleased to find that this collaborative approach was significantly more effective in treating depression than standard care with only a small increase in costs."
A pilot study found that adolescents who received the new form of treatment had five times greater odds of seeing their symptoms go into remission compared with a control group, who received conventional care.
The new approach is described in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The research paper is headed “The Costs and Cost-effectiveness of Collaborative Care for Adolescents With Depression in Primary Care Settings: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”
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