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Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Due to multiple changes experienced during adolescence as the transitioning period from childhood to adulthood, teenagers are quite vulnerable to stress and the related mental health concerns that it may entail when unattended. Depression is one of those issues, having recently become a major concern in adolescent health management. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2018), in 2017, a total of 3,200,000 people aged 12 to 17 experienced at least one major depressive episode. The specified data proves the existence of a larger issue, particularly, the increased exposure to depression in adolescents, which needs to be addressed by offering the vulnerable population counseling and the necessary educational resources. Specifically, the rise in depression among adolescents can be managed by promoting awareness about the key signs and symptoms of depression via social media and encouraging adolescents to undergo Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A)-based screenings that will be offered at local healthcare facilities.

Examining the key stressors that may be at work in the development of depression in adolescent people, one should focus on the specifics of the contemporary sociocultural environment. Although minor contributors to depression may vary depending on the community, the primary depression-inducing factors in adolescents include changes in the endocrine system and the resulting hormone production, as well as the performance of neurotransmitters in the brain (Fiorilli et al., 2019). Due to the possible impairments in the process of chemical release in the brain, notable changes occur in the performance and function of nerve receptors, as well as the nervous system, in general, causing the onset of depression in adolescents.

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Additionally, inherent characteristics or childhood trauma may cause adolescent depression. Physical and emotional abuse are particularly strong facilitators of adolescent depression, as recent studies show (Fassett-Carman et al., 2019). Therefore, the assessment of a patient’s history of development and interactions with others needs to be scrutinized in order to locate the cause of depression. Finally, learned patterns of thinking negatively may lead to depression in adolescents.

The current screening options for locating adolescent depression include several questionnaires that help to isolate depression-related patterns. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is by far the most common one, yet its results may be rather generalized. Therefore, the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A) tool should be incorporated into the existing framework, instead. PHQ-A provides a much more accurate assessment due to its specific focus on its adolescent audience, which makes it vital in assessing the mental state of the target population (Mansour et al., 2020). It is also crucial to ensure patient confidentiality and share only the information that is vital to the patient’s well-being with guardians.

To provide a robust support system for adolescents experiencing depression, online counseling and opportunity to change the lifestyle will be provided. Adolescents will be encouraged to change their patterns of interacting with others toward becoming more social and communicable. In addition, a more active lifestyle with the focus on cooperation-based activities will be recommended. Although the present pandemic issue has limited the opportunities to encourage outdoor activities, active communication and connection to the community will still be promoted, specifically, by using social media and the related IT and ICT tools.

Utilizingsocial media to create awareness in adolescents and encourage them to undergo PHQ-A screenings at local facilities, one will be able to identify the possibility of depression in adolescents and address it accordingly until the problem reaches a larger scope. Moreover, by promoting awareness about depression in the target audience, one will notice patterns and proclivities to mental health issues that are inductive to depression in adolescents. Thus, strategies for managing the located issues will be designed based on the specific patterns of disorder progression in adolescents, as well as specific needs of the target audience. Overall, the program aimed at reducing depression in adolescents by building awareness and promoting health literacy is expected to improve the rates of recovery and reduce the threat of exposure to depression-inducing factors, as well as susceptibility to depression, in general.

References

Fassett-Carman, A., Hankin, B. L., & Snyder, H. R. (2019). Appraisals of dependent stressor controllability and severity are associated with depression and anxiety symptoms in youth. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 32(1), 32-49. Web.

Fiorilli, C., Grimaldi Capitello, T., Barni, D., Buonomo, I., & Gentile, S. (2019). Predicting adolescent depression: The interrelated roles of self-esteem and interpersonal stressors. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 565-571. Web.

Mansour, M., Krishnaprasadh, D., Lichtenberger, J., & Teitelbaum, J. (2020). Implementing the Patient Health Questionnaire Modified for Adolescents to improve screening for depression among adolescents in a Federally Qualified Health Centre. BMJ Open Quality, 9(4), 1-6. Web.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Major depression. Web.