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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds I didn’t really do much on Friday, but I think that was the day that brang my mood up the most. I was really happy on that day because I got extra help with math. And I just felt like I was achieving something. Oh, excellent. Oh, yeah. I can see it got up to a really high achievement, isn’t it? Yeah. So do you think that’s something that you’d like to do again? Yeah. Definitely, to help me. And also the school bus home with friends because I like that. I was just with a different group of friends. Oh, brilliant. So what was the best part of being with friends?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds Just having a chat with them and being able to share things with them. Oh, excellent. So is that really important to you then, being able to chat with friends? Yeah. Great. OK. How about anything else? Cuddling my pet rabbit. I really like that just because it felt close to me. Oh, that’s nice. Oh, yeah. I can see this really high on your closeness. Brilliant. What’s your pet rabbit called? Fluffy. Oh, nice.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds On Saturday, I didn’t do much at all. I had lunch with mum, and I helped John wash my mum’s car. And that brought us closer together. And is that something you want to keep doing? Yeah. I really want to get closer. Oh, that’s nice. So I can see here that when you’re with Mum and when you’re with John, your ratings are quite a bit higher than say, when you’re on Facebook and when you’re just listening to music. Is that right? Is that how you felt, do you think? Yeah, definitely, I think. Because I’m doing stuff that’s more active and when I’m doing my dance classes as well. Oh, yeah. That’s really good.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 seconds So it seems like activities that mean that you are active are going to score high on your ACE-I ratings. Any idea why? Just because I think I’m being a bit more active in going out and joining more things, whereas, if I’m listening to music, I’m not really doing much. It’s not really raising my mood or anything. OK. That is really good news, really insightful that you’ve come up with that on your own. So well done. Thank you. And is there anything else that you’ve noticed when you were tracking your activities? Well, my friend came around, and we played on the Wii. That really made me happy because I was just getting closer to her. Brilliant. Which friend was that?

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 seconds That was Rebecca. Oh, great. Really good. And I just can see here you’ve rated your mood as well for each day, which is brilliant. And it seems like Friday was the best, and Sunday was sort of the lowest for you. What do you think you will take away from this for the future? I think I’ll do more things that will make me happy, like my friend coming round and dance classes and doing things that I enjoy.

How might this be different for teenagers?

For the purposes of the course, and in order to give a better sense of what a typical Brief BA session might look like, we’ve produced a short simulated video where we see how a young person rates her school and weekend activities in relation to ACE-I (Achievement, Closeness, Enjoyment and Importance). The video features Jeni Fisk, a Brief BA therapist, and a young person who is playing the role of depressed patient. Please note: The young person is played by an actor but based on real case examples.

Young people don’t always have a choice in how they spend their time (for example, they usually have to go to school or college, most can’t drive yet, or they aren’t allowed by parents or by law to do certain things). They also might have different activities that they’d like to fill their time with compared to adults.

However, it’s still important to figure out what a teenager is doing in terms of different activities, and what they get out of each activity. This is particularly crucial when considering they don’t have full control over how they spend their time. Taking note of what they choose and enjoy doing when they have the choice, is important.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading