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Depression and anxiety are common in adolescents, but most affected will not get any formal help. Digital mental health technologies (i.e. resources and interventions to support and improve mental health) are a potential way to extend the reach and increase adolescents’ access to therapies, at a relatively low cost. Many young people can access the internet and mobile technologies, including in low- and middle-income countries. There has been increased interest in integrating technologies in a range of settings, especially because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health, at a time when services are under pressure. This clinical review gives an overview of digital technologies to support the prevention and management of depression and anxiety in adolescence. The technologies are presented in relation to their technological approaches, underlying psychological or other theories, setting, development, evaluations to date and how they might be accessed. There is also a discussion of the potential benefits, challenges and future developments in this field.
When embarking on mental health research it is often necessary to apply for approvals from one or more review bodies to ensure that the research is ethical and that the safety and well-being of participants are safeguarded. This can be complicated and time consuming, particularly to those unfamiliar with the process. In this article we describe the approvals commonly required for National Health Service-based research involving patients and endeavour to clearly explain what is involved at each stage. We then highlight some of the main considerations, including ethical aspects, which are particularly pertinent to conducting research in the field of mental health, and finish with general advice and considerations for future developments in the area.
To determine rates of parent-reported child awareness of parental depression, examine characteristics of parents, children and families according to child awareness, and explore whether child awareness is associated with child psychopathology. Data were available from 271 families participating in the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression (EPAD) study, a longitudinal study of offspring of parents with recurrent depression.
Seventy-three per cent of participating children were perceived as being aware of their parent's depression. Older children, and children of parents who experienced more severe depression, were more likely to be aware. Awareness was not associated with child psychopathology.
Considering children in the context of parental depression is important. Child awareness may influence their access to early intervention and prevention programmes. Further research is needed to understand the impact of awareness on the child.
Depression is missed more often in adolescents than in adults, partly because they present with symptoms different from those in adults and because many do not seek help. Early detection or the delay of onset can have a significant effect on a young person's development and social functioning. We briefly discuss diagnosis and screening instruments before presenting the wide range of educational and psychological preventive approaches developed for adolescent depression. Many of the latter are based on the cognitive-behavioural or interpersonal therapy models. We consider how clinicians might use the current evidence base to identify and prevent depression in adolescents, and outline the principles of management of the disorder.
• Identify signs and symptoms of adolescent depression and recognise the difficulties in making a diagnosis.
• Recognise the risk factors for adolescent depression.
• Appreciate the aims and theoretical concepts of prevention strategies for adolescent depression.
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