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.