Programs for Preventing Youth Depression: None Work?

Rob Wipond
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A review of programs used to prevent depression in children and youth found that none of them have sufficient evidence to support their use, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Vanderbilt University psychologists used the Society for Prevention Research’s Standards of Evidence to evaluate “the degree to which existing depression prevention programs have established intervention efficacy, effectiveness, and readiness for dissemination.”

According to their abstract, they “reviewed all depression prevention programs for youth that have been evaluated in at least two published, randomized controlled trials in which the intervention was compared to a no-intervention control group.”

The researchers identified and reviewed 37 studies evaluating 11 different programs. They concluded: “Several programs have demonstrated promise in terms of efficacy, but no depression prevention program for children or adolescents as yet has garnered sufficient evidence of effectiveness under real-world conditions to warrant widespread dissemination at this time.”

Brunwasser, Steven M., and Judy Garber. “Programs for the Prevention of Youth Depression: Evaluation of Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Readiness for Dissemination.” Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 0, no. 0 (May 1, 2015): 1–21. doi:10.1080/15374416.2015.1020541. (Abstract)

12 COMMENTS

  1. And I wonder what the results would be if they held drug interventions to the same standards? Oh, no, I don’t wonder – we already know that drugs are less and less effective the younger the user (can anybody say “placebo effect?”) and that in anyone younger than teens, there is no evidence that they are in any way helpful, even from the biased research of the pharmaceutical companies.

    — Steve

  2. In which brave new world do people actually believe that any sort of a “program” is going to prevent depression? It would be like creating a program to prevent heavy drinkers from getting drunk, or a program to prevent chain smokers from getting lung cancer. Absolute nonsense. Psychotropic drugs create depression. Period.

    If you don’t want kids to be depressed, let me make a simple suggestion. STOP DRUGGING THEM! STOP DIAGNOSING THEM WITH FICTITIOUS DISEASES! While I’m at it, let me make another simple suggestion. Instead of creating elaborate programs to prevent depression, why don’t fathers and mothers start loving each other and their children so that they develop a naturally healthy sense of self-respect and dignity.

    Enough of this psychiatric, big brother, ministry of love malarky! Slay the dragon of psychiatry.

    • “If you don’t want kids to be depressed, let me make a simple suggestion. STOP DRUGGING THEM! STOP DIAGNOSING THEM WITH FICTITIOUS DISEASES! While I’m at it, let me make another simple suggestion. Instead of creating elaborate programs to prevent depression, why don’t fathers and mothers start loving each other and their children so that they develop a naturally healthy sense of self-respect and dignity.”

      I agree. My theory is the war torn baby boomer generation never learned how to do this because their “greatest generation” parents were incapable of teaching them self respect and respect of others, or common decency, due to their WWII experiences. So many of those baby boomers who grew up with no moral or ethical direction, became psychopaths. And these are the people who helped create the psychopathic DSM belief system of today’s US psychiatric industry.

  3. It is a certainy in the Mental Health Industry that as soon as one sees an agency focusing on “programs” it means that they have given up on prevention and proper treatment. Rather than using resources properly, most institutions, whether it’s hospitals, government or education, the easy way out is to promote some kind of mental health program that may beb good for public relations, but does nothing to relieve suffering. It’s a positive note that this study has exposed the worthlessness of this approach, though this should have been obvious to anyone who understands the real problems.

    drnormanhoffman.com

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