Childhood Depression: A Preventable Situation

Topics: LGBT, Psychology, Major depressive disorder Pages: 8 (2601 words) Published: December 16, 2013

Childhood Depression: A Preventable Situation
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health performed by SAMHSA in 2004 shows that in some areas as much as 10% of the overall population of the United States suffers from depression, and while depression can be caused by many things there is a segment of the population in which depression starts in their school years, and continues throughout their lives. This is a tragedy, however the larger tragedy is that this depression in most cases it is actually possible to avoid but it continues to occur due to misunderstandings of the cause. In the past few years with the increased interest in mental health there has been a focus on improving the general mental wellbeing of students. While an admirable goal, there has been a group of students who are continuously disenfranchised by the system; our society continuously fails to provide them with a safe place to study, and those who work to assist these students are also often on the receiving end of verbal abuse and sometimes even physical violence. The concern behind such a situation, is that depression caused in childhood often extends into adulthood (Russell, Ryan and Toomey), but this is entirely preventable. SAMHSA performs studies nationwide each year regarding many different factors, primarily related to drug usage, and the statistics from 2006 through 2012 (SAMHSA) show a steady decline in incidents of major depressive episodes (MDEs). An MDE is defined as having five or more incidents of 9 potential symptoms of depression within a two week period, the symptoms of depression cover a wide range of symptoms from the extreme including such things as drastic weight loss, to the relatively minor symptoms including decreased energy (Woliver). In a lot of cases, these symptoms are unrecognized as coming from depression, even more so when so much information about depression is geared towards an explanation of so-called “adult” depression, as the symptomology between adult and teen depression has overlaps, but is often behaviorally different. There are many different causes for depression from the biological, there are specific brain chemistry situations that are directly linked to chronic depression, to the social; the former are treatable in most cases with medications, combined with therapy, but the latter need not occur. It is these latter causes that we have started to see decline in the past decade, specifically the incidence of discrimination, assault (verbal and physical), and generalized hurtful statements have declined in the past decade (M. M. Joseph G. Kosciw). In fact, it is due to organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that we have not only learnt so much about some of the causes of this depression, but how easily it is for society to actually resolve these issues. In 2002 GLSEN reported “that youth were often uncomfortable in their schools because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression” (M. M. Joseph G. Kosciw), this means that a segment of our community was being treated extremely unfairly due to just existing! Thankfully though, there has been an effort to educate those that protect and teach our children, and the dividends are paying off, in the 2012 GLSEN report, Eliza Byard reports “Reviewing these charts, graphs, numbers, and percentages, I had one primary, overwhelming thought: We are making a difference! How often does one get to see the evidence of change in progress?” (Joseph G. Kosciw, Emily A. Greytak and Mark J. Bartkiewicz).

However, in sections of this country, even in this state, there is still confusion as to the legal rights of school children. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 explicitly states:

The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state...

Bibliography: Aronson, Elliot. The Social Animal. New York: Worth Publishers, 2011. Print.
Joseph G. Kosciw, M.A., M.S. Ed. The 2001 National School Climate Survey: The School Related Experiences of our Nations Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. New York: GLSEN, 2002. PDF File. 7 November 2013.
Joseph G. Kosciw, Ph.D., et al. The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN, 2012. PDF File. 6 November 2013.
Russell, Stephen T., et al. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescent School Victimization: Implications for Young Adult Health and Adjustment." Journal of School Health (2011): 223-230. Wiley Online Library. Web. 18 October 2013.
Valenti, Maria and Rebecca Campbell. "Working With Youth On LGBT Issues: Why Gay–Straight Alliance Advisors Become Involved." Journal Of Community Psychology 37.2 (2009): 228-248. ERIC. Web. 7 November 2013.
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