National Patterns of Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications to Young People

A new US study has found that medications prescribed to treat young people with psychiatric disorders such as depression may be under prescribed. The researchers compared prescribing rates with prevalence rates for the most common psychiatric disorders in children (Science Daily).

group of children and young people

The full text article is available here from The Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

The full feature from Science Daily

Full reference:  Sultan, R. S., et al. |National Patterns of Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications to Young People| Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology|2018|DOI: 10.1089/cap.2017.0077



‘Depression education’ effective for some teens

In an assessment of their ‘depression literacy’ program, which has already been taught to tens of thousands, researchers say the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer. | ScienceDaily | American Journal of Public Health

Objectives. To determine the effectiveness of a universal school-based depression education program.

Methods. In 2012–2015, we matched 6679 students from 66 secondary schools into pairs by state (Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and randomized to the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP; n = 3681) or to a waitlist control condition (n = 2998). Trained teachers delivered ADAP as part of the health education curriculum to students aged 14 to 15 years. The primary outcome was depression literacy. Secondary outcomes included mental health stigma and, in a subset of the sample, the receipt of mental health services. Follow-up was at 4 months.

Results. ADAP resulted in significantly higher levels of depression literacy among participating students than did waitlist controls, after adjusting for pretest assessment depression literacy (P < .001). Overall, ADAP did not significantly affect stigma (P = .1). After ADAP, students approached 46% of teachers with concerns about themselves or others. Of students who reported the need for depression treatment, 44% received treatment within 4 months of ADAP implementation.

Conclusions. ADAP is an effective public health intervention for improving depression literacy among students.

Read more at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Swartz, K. et al. | School-Based Curriculum to Improve Depression Literacy Among US Secondary School Students: A Randomized Effectiveness Trial | American Journal of Public Health |  2017; 107 (12): 1970

Body dissatisfaction causing long lasting consequences for young people

Body dissatisfaction can start as young as six and lead to depression, anxiety and eating issues | Youth Select Committee

body image

The Youth Select Committee, a British Youth Council initiative, is supported by the House of Commons and has 11 members aged from 13 to 18. This week, the committee is launching its report, A Body Confident Future which looks at the issue of body image, an issue highlighted as an area of concern in a recent poll of thousands of young people.

The Committee’s key recommendations include:

  • Government sponsorship of an annual ‘National Body Confidence Week’ which would be supported by all relevant departments.
  • Introduction of minimum standards for social media companies in relation to content moderation, to be enforced in the forthcoming digital charter.
  • Measures to improve the diversity of advertising campaigns.
  • Adequate funding for schools so that pupils are supported in their wider wellbeing, including on issues related to body dissatisfaction.
  • Greater focus on body image in online resources aimed at young people, teachers and parents.

Full detail at British Youth Council

See also: BBC News: Young people out of love with their own bodies, says report

Earlier school start times may increase risk of adolescent depression and anxiety

Teenagers with school starting times before 8:30 a.m. may be at particular risk of experiencing depression and anxiety due to compromised sleep quality, according to a recent study. | Sleep Health 2017 | story via ScienceDaily


The findings of this study provide additional evidence in the debate over how school start times impact adolescent health.  The study,  published in the journal Sleep Health found that Teenagers who start school before 8:30 a.m. are at higher risk of depression and anxiety, even if they’re doing everything else right to get a good night’s sleep.

The authors used an online tool to collect data from 197 students across the USA between the ages of 14 and 17. All children and parents completed a baseline survey that included questions about the child’s level of sleep hygiene, family socioeconomic status,  and their school start times. They were separated into two groups: those who started school before 8:30 a.m. and those who started after 8:30 a.m.

Over a period of seven days, the students were instructed to keep a sleep diary, in which they reported specifically on their daily sleep hygiene, levels of sleep quality and duration, and their depressive/anxiety symptoms.

The results showed that good baseline sleep hygiene was directly associated with lower average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms across all students, and the levels were even lower in students with school start times after 8:30. However, students with good baseline sleep hygiene and earlier school start times had higher average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms.

Link to the research:  Peltz, J. S. et al. A process-oriented model linking adolescents’ sleep hygiene and psychological functioning: the moderating role of school start times  Sleep Health

Full story at ScienceDaily

Depression in children and young people

NICE has published a guideline on identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years.

This guideline covers identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. Based on the stepped care model, it aims to improve recognition and assessment and promote effective treatments for mild, moderate and severe depression.

Image source:

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Full guideline: Depression in children and young people: identification and management

Mental ill-health of children and young people

New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14. | National Childrens Bureau

youth-2274669_1920 (1).jpg

Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool have analysed information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study. This briefing provides details of the mental health among this cohort.

The findings show that while the majority of 3-14-year-olds in the UK are not suffering from mental ill-health, a substantial proportion experience significant difficulties. Being from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background appeared to raise the risk.

Full briefing: Mental ill-health among children of the new century

See also: National Childrens Bureau|  NHS England | BBC News

Adverse childhood experiences and later-life depression

The aim of this study was to investigate associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and later-life depressive symptoms; and to explore whether perceived social support (PSS) moderates these | BMJ Open

ACEs are common among older adults in Ireland and are associated with higher odds of later-life depressive symptoms, particularly among those with poor PSS. Interventions that enhance social support, or possibly perceptions of social support, may help reduce the burden of depression in older populations with ACE exposure, particularly in those reporting abuse.

Full reference: Cheong, E.V. et al. (2017) Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and later-life depression: perceived social support as a potential protective factor. BMJ Open. 7:e013228