More Than Sad: Teen Depression
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)
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Developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), More Than Sad: Teen Depression is an original 26-minute film developed for high school-aged audiences. The film features vignettes of four teen characters whose depression manifests in different ways. Each of the characters is referred to treatment in a different manner—by a parent, by self-referral, by a school counselor, and by a physician. Scenes portraying interactions with mental health professionals are included to demystify treatment. Key messages of the film include:
- Depression is a common problem that can interfere with teens’ ability to function well in school, enjoy hobbies or activities, or interact effectively with friends or family members.
- Depression is an illness, not a character weakness or something that people bring on themselves.
- Depression may develop after a particularly upsetting event or situation, but also develops in young people who may not seem to have any reason to be depressed.
- Depression usually doesn’t go away on its own and if left untreated may lead to serious consequences, including suicide.
- Effective treatments for depression are available.
The facilitator materials are downloadable from the AFSP website and include a detailed Facilitator’s Guide that outlines recommendations for showing the film in classrooms or other small group settings, frequently asked questions, and a suggested lesson plan with discussion questions. Other materials include a depression resource list for teens, facts about depression in teens, a short quiz (for evaluating students’ knowledge before and after the presentation), a model school policy, and a postvention toolkit.
After viewing the film, teens should:
- Be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in themselves or their friends.
- Understand that depression is a medical illness for which effective treatment exists.
- Be more willing to seek help if depressed and encourage depressed friends to seek help.
- Teachers and others who show More Than Sad: Teen Depression should first carefully prepare by reviewing the Facilitator’s Guide and other materials and should follow the outlined recommendations for delivering the program.
- In particular, teachers should become familiar with their school’s crisis management plan and procedures for referring students for mental health evaluation.
2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed:
Objective 7.1: Provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors.