Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsHello, and welcome to this online course, which is focused on the topic of adolescent depression. The course is designed for people who work directly with young people who might be depressed or are parents of young people who might be depressed. So people in the very front line. And we've made this course because we're aware that there's a lot of publicity around at the moment about adolescent mental health. And naturally, lots and lots of concern about the impact of depression on young people and how it might affect them now and going into the future. What we want to convey is good news, really. There are a lot of effective treatments for adolescent depression.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsAnd parents, teachers, and other people who work with young people can be a real source of support and practical help to young people. And we hope that this course will show you how that can work. Across the five weeks of the course we'll hear from lots of different people. We'll hear from young people themselves about their experience of what it's like to be depressed and their experience of treatment. We're going to talk to some parents about what it's like to live with a young person who's depressed. Hear from a teacher to talk about her experience of working in schools and what it's like to work with young people who have got depression.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 secondsWe'll hear from some experts who understand adolescent depression from a research perspective. And we hope we'll also hear from you on the online discussions, where you can post comments, ask questions, and discuss the topics with each other. In Week one of the course, we're going to focus on what depression looks like. What it's like to be a young person with depression and how, as a parent or a teacher, you might begin to recognise when a young person is becoming depressed. We'll think about how depression is different from normal low mood. We all have periods when we're not feeling great, when we have periods when we're quite sad and upset. But that does not mean we're depressed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsSo what we want to do is to be clear about what depression is and how it would be different from when a young person is just in a bad mood or sad. If you do decide that it would be helpful to talk to somebody about your son or daughter's low mood or you'd like to advise somebody to seek help for depression, who should you talk to? We're going to talk a little bit about what help might look like, what kind of support is available, and what treatments tend to be useful and effective for young people with depression.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 secondsBecause often adults, parents, and teachers are concerned about the risk of self-harm amongst teenagers and young people who are depressed, we will spend some time thinking about self-harm and really try and offer some practical advice and some information about how to minimise the risk of self-harm in young people. The last thing we'll do is think about what is it that causes depression. So we're going to take a psychological approach to this and look at some of the main psychological explanations for the causes of depression and how those help us approach the treatment of depression in young people.

Welcome to the course

Hello and welcome to ‘Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People’, a free, online course produced by the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading.

Over the next five weeks we want to provide you with a better understanding of low mood and depression, and help you to offer appropriate support to young people who are experiencing these difficulties via a series of relevant and evidence-based practical suggestions. In this video we’ll hear from Professor Shirley Reynolds, who will introduce us to this week’s topics and a brief overview of the course.

What can you expect from completing this course?

By the end of the five weeks, we hope that this course will help you to answer the following questions:

  • What affects mood in adolescence? What is ‘normal’ low mood and how does this differ from depression?
  • What does depression in young people look like? What are some of the key signs and symptoms and when should I be concerned about my child or a young person I work with?
  • How do I talk to a young person about what they are going through? What kinds of conversations are useful when trying to get the most appropriate help?
  • What causes depression in young people and what impact might social media play?
  • How can depression be treated in young people and what treatment is most effective?
  • What kinds of environmental factors can impact on depression in young people and how can I help my child or a young person in my care to develop healthier habits?
  • How can I best support my child/a young person in my care who is experiencing depression whilst also looking after myself too?

Before we move further

We’d like to highlight that poor mental health is no-one’s fault; no-one should be blamed for a young person’s depression; it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them as a person or their family.

As you go through the course, you’ll be asked to think about your own experiences of depression (either relating to yourself, your children or the young people that you work with) which you’re welcome to share in the discussion areas. However, we’d ask you to be extremely mindful about sharing sensitive and personal information about yourself or others that can be used to identify an individual. Talking about and sharing personal experiences can be very empowering but it’s essential for everyone to be respectful of fellow learners, particularly where opinions may be different from your own.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

If you’d like to, you now have the option to upgrade this course which includes:

1. Unlimited access to the course

Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

2. A Certificate of Achievement

To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading