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Seeking help

This article discusses forms of treatment for young people who are experiencing depression.

If you’re concerned about your young person we would urge you to seek additional help. Normally this would be via a family doctor or General Practitioner. Depression can sometimes look like other medical problems and difficulties so it’s important to seek professional advice. We’ve included a list of things that you might want to cover here.

Ideally you’d want to go with them, but if they refuse it’s still worth going, even on your own. It may be that you can reach a compromise with one of the following options:

  • Going together and allowing the young person to stay in the car or waiting area
  • Going alone to the first appointment and taking your child to the second one after talking through what was discussed
  • Asking the young person to come in for the last part of the appointment
  • Going together but not asking the young person to speak if they don’t feel ready to do so

The recommended treatment for depression in young people has been outlined in a report produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – this is a UK based organisation which evaluates the most effective treatments for physical and mental health problems, based on high quality research. The current recommendations for young people with depression state that, talking therapies, or a combination of talking therapies and medication should be provided.

Several talking therapies have been shown to be effective for young people with depression, including CBT, Family Therapy (FT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT). The research evidence available currently indicates that CBT is one of the most effective approaches for this type of problem.

In terms of medication, only one type of anti-depressant is recommended by NICE, called Fluoxetine (known as Prozac). Fluoxetine is one of a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and can help by increasing the amount of serotonin which is available in the brain and body. The Royal College of Psychiatrists have further information about the use of anti-depressants in under 18s here.

© University of Reading
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Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

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