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DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS A Resource for Teachers.

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Presentation on theme: "DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS A Resource for Teachers."— Presentation transcript:

1 DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS A Resource for Teachers

2 Depression Depression is generally defined as a persistent experience of a sad or irritable mood as well as anhedonia, a loss of the ability to experience pleasure in nearly all activities. Depression is an illness that affects the entire person. It changes the way the person feels, thinks, and acts. It is not a personal weakness or a character flaw Adapted from: Ralph E. Cash, PhD, NCSP Nova Southeastern University

3 Why Do We Care? When compared to their developmental peers, students with depression: are less likely to participate in school activities. are more likely to disrupt classroom activities. often have at least one parent with depression. are more likely to skip class and miss time away from school. are more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as substance abuse. are more likely to commit suicide.

4 Depression on a Continuum Mental healthMental health problemMental illness / disorder Healthy moods, able to function and reach one’s full potential Resiliency factors such as all forms of interpersonal support (e.g., secure attachments) Mild problems with thoughts, behaviours Stresses at school, home and/or work Symptom clusters and impaired functioning E.g. mood problems, externalizing problems, psychoses, substance use, etc.

5 What We Know About the Depression Rates of DSB Ontario North East Students

6 WHAT DEPRESSION LOOKS LIKE AT SCHOOL Moodiness (sad, angry, irritable, anxious) Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness Low self esteem, hopelessness Tiredness, low energy, poor appetite Social withdrawal Non-compliance with rules Decline in academics Skipping classes, school absences Impaired ability to plan, organize, and use abstract reasoning

7 Early Identification is Key When left untreated, depression can lead to: school failure, conduct disorder and delinquency, anorexia and bulimia, school phobia, panic attacks, substance abuse, or suicide.

8 Early Identification is Key Develop a caring, supportive school environment for students, parents, and staff. Ensure that at least one responsible adult in the school takes a special interest in each student. Know how to identify symptoms of depression Resource/The-Sad-Child/Sadness.aspx Resource/The-Sad-Child/Sadness.aspx Listen and learn how to provide support 20Difference%204-0.pdf 20Difference%204-0.pdf

9 Reaching Out to Students Students who are depressed may not ask for help because they believe no one cares or that nothing can be done. Students may not want to be labeled as having a problem, particularly if they already believe they are to blame for being unpopular, unworthy, or a failure. It is never wrong to ask a student who seems troubled if she or he is OK, but a depressed student may dismiss overtures of concern as misplaced or intrusive. Depending on the severity of the student’s symptoms and behavior, staff members can respect this type of response but should continue to observe the student and confer with other staff members.

10 How Schools Can Help Ensure the principal is aware that the student’s school success is at risk. Share your concerns with the student’s parents/guardians Recommend a physical examination to rule out identifiable physical causes. Refer the student to the Mental Health Team for the development of a Behavior Modification Plan and to ensure a collaborative approach that triangulates the student with the school and community partners.

11 General Classroom Strategies Depression impairs students’ ability to learn and concentrate they may work more slowly than other students. Ensure the student has a chance to achieve: Eliminate less important work until the student is in recovery Give more time Shorten assignments.

12 General Classroom Strategies Children and adolescents who are depressed are more sensitive to criticism. Corrections should be accompanied by plenty of praise and support. Make positive statements that reflect the student’s past successes Ask open-ended questions in class. these kinds of questions minimize any chances for embarrassment. Show confidence, respect, and belief in the student’s abilities

13 Danger Of Teen Suicide Statistically, in a school of 700 students, approximately 9 will attempt suicide in a single year. Be aware of our Board’s procedures for dealing with students who are expressing suicidal thoughts. Seek direction from your principal if you have questions about what to do.

14 Preventing Depression in Students The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the leading cause of disease in developing countries like Canada. Prevention is key to decreasing the burden of depression on society and is more cost-effective and less distressing than waiting for the condition to appear and then trying to treat it. Evidence based programs, such as Girls Talk, are key in preventing depression amongst our students

15 THANK YOU! We hope that you found this a useful introduction to depression. Should you have questions, your Mental Health Leader is available to provide ongoing support and leadership to your team.


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