Depression is a serious mental health issue that has been reported to affect the mental health status of individuals at any age. Statistical evidences state that on an average 6% of the global population of adolescence or teenagers are affected with depression (Cummings et al., 2014). The statistical facts also reveal that approximately (0.5% to 2%) of children belonging to the pre adolescence age are also affected with depression (Cummings et al., 2014). On account of its critical implications, depression in children is often overlooked and treated as a meagre element of sadness around the world. The problem associated with depression is extremely serious and has been reported to affect children and adolescence because of a number of factors such as peer pressure, inability to cope with academic stress and complicated relationships with family (Bowes et al., 2015). This essay would critically discuss the informations gathered from available literary sources on the global status of depression in children and adolescence. The paper would delve deeper into the topic and proceed with conducting a systematic review and finally derive a unanimous conclusion from the explored literatures.
Depression is a serious concern in children and adolescence as it could lead to the crumbling of the mental status on a permanent basis (Maras et al., 2015). There has been ample evidences that predict the prevalence of depression in children and teenagers but there has not been a synchronised systematic review on the same. Hence, it can be said that this systematic review would contribute effectively in the field of mental health research and at the same time would also serve as guidelines for future researchers who are willing to conduct research on ‘depression in children and teenagers’.
It has been stated by eminent researchers that an effective search strategy governs the success rate of a research study. Several factors such as thorough screening of research papers based on effective exclusion and inclusion criteria and incorporation of strong key words help in developing an effective search strategy. It should further be noted that an effective search strategy is also dependent upon the authenticity of the databases from where the research papers are retrieved. It is extremely important to conduct the search in a strategic manner and consider authentic databases so that the information obtained is substantial.
Reliable electronic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, CINAHL, Scopus and web of science were thoroughly scrutinised for publishes research paper in English language. The considered year of publication included a time frame from the year 2013 to 2017. Strong key words aligned to depression in children and teenagers were used. Along with the mentioned databases a thorough search was conducted on Google and other relevant government websites to evaluate relevant paper aligned to the central theme.
The exclusion and inclusion criteria serve as the stringent filters that are applied in the electronic databases in order to scan relevant papers and obtain reliable information. The inclusion characteristics that were considered included papers published in English and papers published between the years 2013 to 2017. In addition the inclusion criteria also comprised of key words that were linked to the central theme and considered papers published in reputed journals with high impact factor value. The exclusion characteristics were the omitting factors and comprised of characteristics that included papers published in languages other than English and papers published prior to 2013. The exclusion criteria also comprised papers that dealt with depression in old age and working men and women.
The key words included in the screening method comprised of words such as: depression, children, adolescence, teenage, mental status, prevalence, risk factors and depression interventions.
Research studies reveal that one out of every five children is a victim of depression. It has also been revealed that the individuals belonging to the age group of 13 to 18 are majorly affected with depression. The most dangerous outcome of depression among the teenagers is the prevalence of ‘youth-suicide’ (Ghofranipour et al., 2013). Research studies have also indicated that there has been cases of depression in children aged 9 years to 11 years who are at the transition phase of childhood to adolescence. Researchers have predicted that a combination of biological and developmental factors are responsible for eliciting feelings of depression and failure in young teenagers (Wilde, 2013). Some of the determinants that have been attributed as contributing factors of depression in children and adolescents are issues related with alcohol or drug abuse, academic pressure, peer pressure, emotional stress and tension pertaining to complicated relationships with family and friends (Maras et al., 2015). Studies have also revealed that the disparity in intellectual level and social status contribute to the development of feelings of incapability and failure in school going children. In addition, research studies also suggest that change in the structure of family pertaining to division of family structure and incidences of divorce cases between the parents lead to the development of symptoms of depression. To a great extent the attitude and the relationship shared by the parents affect the mental wellness of children. Researches have stated that children are often reluctant in seeking help associated with their fear and insecurities and end up feeling tormented and secluded from the society (Wilde, 2013). Indulgence in drug abuse, consumption of alcohol and indulgence in casual relationships have been reported as escape strategies used by teenagers to deal with depression and feelings of helplessness (Acun-Kapikiran et al., 2014). Mental illness is often overlooked and ignored on account of the absence of evident physical symptoms that are common in cases of infectious diseases. On an average 82% of depression cases in children remain unidentified (McLoughlin et al., 2015). Children who witness parents or a close family member subjected to domestic abuse end up nurturing negative feelings towards life. It has been stated in research studies that children nurturing feelings associated with acute depression possess lower intelligent coefficient (IQ) and perform horribly in school (Mokrysz et al.,2016). It is extremely important to identify the initial signs and symptoms of depression. This should be done in order to prevent it from deteriorating the healthy framework of the innocent mind of children and teenagers who are traversing the journey to turn into responsible adults (Morrison & Schwartz, 2014). It is important to note here that only a healthy and happy childhood can give rise to responsible adults in the later stage of life.
Hence, to conclude it can be stated that the development of depression in children and teenagers are a major concern that should not be overlooked. In most of the cases the mental health wellbeing of children and adolescents entering into the phase of adulthood are ignored. This is primarily because of the lack of evident physical symptoms which are obvious in case of infectious and contagious disorders. The major social determiners that have been associated for the development of symptoms of depression are broadly categorized into social and personal factors. While the personal factors are tightly linked with the relationship shared by the children and the teenagers with their immediate family members and friends, the social factors comprise of a wide range of elements such as peer pressure and academic pressure. In most of the cases the teenagers tend to deviate from the right track of their life and take up habits such as alcohol consumption and drug abuse. In certain severe cases, it has also been witnessed that children are unable to bear the weight of turmoil and end up either practicing self-harm or giving up their life. Hence, it is important to incorporate awareness strategies and compulsory counselling services in schools and colleges to combat the issue.
The systematic review reveals that the strategies of interventions to deal with depression in children and adolescents must be improved. This could be done with the incorporation of compulsory counselling sessions and psychological awareness and education in schools and colleges. Therefore, it can be said that there is ample amount of scope for researchers to conduct research on the mentioned topic.
Acun-Kapikiran, N., Körükcü, Ö., & Kapikiran, S. (2014). The Relation of Parental Attitudes to Life Satisfaction and Depression in Early Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Self-Esteem. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 14(4), 1246-1252.
Bowes, L., Joinson, C., Wolke, D., & Lewis, G. (2015). Peer victimisation during adolescence and its impact on depression in early adulthood: prospective cohort study in the United Kingdom. bmj, 350, h2469.
Chan, G. C., Kelly, A. B., & Toumbourou, J. W. (2013). Accounting for the association of family conflict and heavy alcohol use among adolescent girls: The role of depressed mood. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 74(3), 396-405.
Cummings, C. M., Caporino, N. E., & Kendall, P. C. (2014). Comorbidity of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents: 20 years after. Psychological bulletin, 140(3), 816.
Ghofranipour, F., Saffari, M., Mahmoudi, M., & Montazeri, A. (2013). Demographical and psychological determinants of depression, among a sample of Iranian male adolescents. International journal of preventive medicine, 4(10), 1217.
Maras, D., Flament, M. F., Murray, M., Buchholz, A., Henderson, K. A., Obeid, N., & Goldfield, G. S. (2015). Screen time is associated with depression and anxiety in Canadian youth. Preventive medicine, 73, 133-138.
McLoughlin, A. B., Gould, M. S., & Malone, K. M. (2015). Global trends in teenage suicide: 2003–2014. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 108(10), 765-780.
Mokrysz, C., Landy, R., Gage, S. H., Munafò, M. R., Roiser, J. P., & Curran, H. V. (2016). Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(2), 159-168.
Morrison, J., & Schwartz, T. L. (2014). Adolescent angst or true intent? Suicidal behavior, risk, and neurobiological mechanisms in depressed children and teenagers taking antidepressants. Int J Emerg Ment Health, 16(1), 247-50.
Wilde, J. (2013). Treating anger, anxiety, and depression in children and adolescents: A cognitive-behavioral perspective. Taylor & Francis.