Description: One of the biggest challenges in dealing with depression in the population is getting those who are struggling with it to seek help. Efforts to set up screening systems for any psychological (or physical) health matter are potentially very costly and very difficult to design effectively (just think about two issues – false negatives, people with the problem who do not turn up on the screen test and so are missed and false positives, people who screen positive as having the condition but actually do not have it. Both of these errors come with costs that can be prohibitive and can essentially make screening too foggy to be useful. There ARE alternatives. The article linked below describes one such alternative. The project described is based on a peer-to-peer model where small numbers of high school students are trained and then lead a depression awareness campaign amongst their school peers and the results are encouraging. Before you read the article think a bit about what sorts of tings it might or should involve and a bit about how effective you think it might be AND about other issues that might benefit from a peer-to-peer approach.
Source: Teen-Led Depression Awareness Can Help Others Get Help, Janice Wood, PsycCentral.
Date: March 4, 2018
So, as you saw in the article the peer-to-peer program for depression awareness and action described in the article worked very well. In ways that reflect efforts to reduce mental illness stigma the peer-to-peer depression awareness program with its key points including identification od symptoms, asking for help, understanding depression’s immunity to willpower fixes, helper self-efficacy, and help seeking. The peer-to-peer approach is as much about challenging negative assumption as it is about outreach.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why might a teen struggling with depression not seek help?
- How did the peer-to-peer approach to depression work?
- What are some other situations or issues that might benefit from a peer-to-per approach and where else might such approaches be useful outside of high schools?
References (Read Further):
National Institute of Mental Health. (2018). Depression. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml on February 27, 2018.
Teen Depression Symptoms: https://psychcentral.com/lib/teen-depression-symptoms/
Peer-to-peer Depression Awareness Campaign: 2016-2017 school year. http://www.depressioncenter.org/education-outreach/programs/schools/aaps/peer-to-peer/2017/
Eysenbach, G., Powell, J., Englesakis, M., Rizo, C., & Stern, A. (2004). Health related virtual communities and electronic support groups: systematic review of the effects of online peer to peer interactions. Bmj, 328(7449), 1166. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC411092/
Morris, R. R., Schueller, S. M., & Picard, R. W. (2015). Efficacy of a web-based, crowdsourced peer-to-peer cognitive reappraisal platform for depression: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 17(3). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395771/
Ali, K., Farrer, L., Gulliver, A., & Griffiths, K. M. (2015). Online peer-to-peer support for young people with mental health problems: a systematic review. JMIR mental health, 2(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4607385/
Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., … & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives of general psychiatry, 60(2), 184-189. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/207204