DALLAS (Good Medical) – In a scenario that is being repeated in more and more classrooms around the world, a Dallas teenager recently asked her classmate if something was wrong, noting that She did not behave like herself. The brusque replied, "Just let me go."

Ninth grade students at the Uplift Hampton Prep School engaged in role plays as part of a program to teach teens how to detect signs of depression in their own homes and at home. other. According to government statistics on health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 10 to 18, and experts hope that lessons will learn faster help for depressed teens.

"It sounds a bit like" Mental Health 101 ". So they talk about depression and anxiety and common mental health issues, and then I think the most important thing is to say what to do if you feel like that, "said Tony Walker, Senior Director of Support Services. students at Uplift Education, which offers the program to all Grade 9 students in its network of Dallas area public charter schools, including Uplift Hampton.

The Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas administers the program, called Youth in the Mental Health, or YAM, which was developed by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Columbia University in New York .

According to Marshall Motsenbocker, a researcher at the University of the Southwestern United States, who led the five 45-minute sessions of the program at Uplift Hampton, role playing helps teens solve difficult problems. When the two girls finished their recent scene, he asked the class what signs of depression they had recognized and what could be the cause. He added that teens sometimes reacted too quickly and that these discussions helped them to think about what might have motivated someone to behave in a certain way.

Destinie Medina, who attended the Uplift Hampton sessions, said it was important to know how to help someone with depression or suicidal thoughts. She added that she had also learned "what could cause depression, as what differentiates depression from sadness".

His classmate, Jose Perales, said he learned that sometimes, helping means "just listen to what they have to say and what they feel".

Research on the program has yielded encouraging results. A study published in the medical journal Lancet in 2015 showed that it reduced the number of suicide attempts and the serious suicidal ideation of those who were victims.

Since then, some schools in Sweden, Australia, India, England and the United States interest him, said Camilla Wasserman, researcher at the Karolinska Institute and creator of the program. She said that one of her strengths is that it encourages discussion.

"We do not really believe in the right or wrong answers and we explore all types of situations," said Wasserman.

This is the third year UT Southwestern has offered this program. It reached more than 18,000 students at that time and is currently in more than 30 schools in the Dallas area.

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, who oversees the program and conducts research on depression at the university, said student assessments before and after the end of the program show that they are improving their knowledge of what's going on. 39, it is necessary to do when someone needs help and that his own symptoms of depression and anxiety. decrease.

Trivedi said that to dispel the concerns of parents, including the "false misunderstanding" that talking about depression to teens could make them depressed, parents are invited to an information session.

A school district in the region turned to the program two years ago after a series of suicides.

"Our counselors indicated that they saw many more students worrying about their health or someone else as a result of this program," Jana Hancock said. , Director of Guidance and Family Education Services, Plano Independent School District. She emphasized that the program is designed for everyone – not just for those who might have problems.

Mindful youth is one of the programs used to teach adolescents mental health. The National Alliance for Mental Illness has created a 50-minute program called Ending the Silence, which teaches students about the warning signs of mental health issues. It has reached nearly 450,000 children in 41 states since the organization began offering it nationally in 2014, said Jennifer Rothman, Senior Director of the Youth and Young Adult Initiatives Group.

New York and Virginia have recently passed legislation requiring such lessons.

"It was frankly an idea whose time had come," said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State, Inc., a mental health advocacy group that has spent many years doing pressure for the bill to pass.

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