It used to be people thought children couldn’t develop depression. Now, 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18 — and a new JAMA study suggests collaborative care is a better way to go about treating it.
Collaborative care is a type of treatment that involves several health care providers engaging with their patients, their patient’s families, caregivers, and otherwise community to provide quality care. In this study, this kind of intervention meant continually reaching out to depressed teens, sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, and the choice to take antidepressants or not while at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. There were over a hundred teens, ages 13 to 17, at Group Health, in which a portion received collaborative care while others received their usual care involving depression screenings and access to mental health services. And the results showed that after one year, collaborative teens experienced more of a decrease in depressive symptoms.
"For adolescents, as for adults, depression can make it difficult to seek help and follow through," Dr. Laura P. Richardson, lead study author and an affiliate investigator at Group Health, said in a press release. "That's why it's so important that the care manager reached out to the teens regularly to see whether they were improving — and met weekly with a mental health specialist supervisor to review how the patients were responding to care."
Ninety-seven percent of Americans all agree knowing this kind of information is key to making a good health decision, according to the Hospital Quality Outcomes 2014 survey from Healthgrades, a leading online resource for all things health care. Yet 58 percent settle for doctors and specialists that are either a) nearby or b) covered by their insurance.
Sure, it’s perfectly understandable (if not necessary) to work within your means, but teens who don’t receive the proper treatment — something that may not fit that particular criteria — are at a greater risk for suicide, substance abuse, early pregnancy, and dropping out of school. Healthgrades also found major depressive disorder and anxiety are among the disease with the highest morbidity, which means patients live years suffering from a particular disease.
Doing your homework is what's going to help you make the right decision for your teen. Sometimes, it won't be convenient. But it will be worth it.
In addition to the comprehensive information available on Healthgrades, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and American Psychological Association's Health Center are all great resources for both teens and adults living with depression.