High School Peer-to-Peer Program May Increase Early Depression Detection

After program started at 10 high schools, students had improved knowledge, attitudes about depression
After program started at 10 high schools, students had improved knowledge, attitudes about depression

HealthDay News — A peer-to-peer depression awareness program is associated with improved knowledge and attitudes about depression among high school students, according to a study published online March 1 in Psychiatric Services.

Sagar V. Parikh, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues trained 121 students at 10 high schools to develop and implement peer-to-peer depression awareness campaigns. A total of 878 students at the schools completed questionnaires before and after implementation of the campaigns. 

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The researchers found that after implementation of the campaigns, students had improved knowledge and attitudes toward depression, increased confidence in identifying and referring peers with depression, improved help-seeking intentions, and reduced stigma.

"The peer-to-peer program increased depression literacy through the use of youth-designed and youth-implemented depression awareness and outreach activities, which may ultimately result in earlier detection of depression and in fewer depression sequelae," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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