Depression is a common mental disorder. In children and adolescents it can interfere with the developmental trajectory impairing educational experiences and close relationships. In turn, this can have enduring consequences to self confidence, self worth, and capacity to form good relationships.
The secondary effects of depression in children and adolescents can persist into adult life and become risk factors for subsequent depressions, as well as onsets of adult personality disturbances and disorders. There is the much increased risk of self-harm and suicide. There are also substantial economic costs to the health services and wider society.
Unfortunately, services are not very good at detecting depression in children and adolescents as reflected in data provided by NICE (2005) and Garber (2008). When we do detect cases, the best treatments we have do not cure all cases (Dubicka et al, 2009; Goodyer et al, 2007; NICE, 2005). There is much to do!
This two-part module is focused on highlighting the simple things, with reference to more complex material; doing the simple things very well and keeping on doing them very well is the foundation upon which we can build services that will improve outcomes for the future.
It is vitally important for the future, to examine and investigate the issues at the cutting edge of the psycho-biology of depression – but that is not the primary focus of this module, for the reasons outlined.