Schools can cut anti-depressant use among students

July 24th, 2009 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 24 (IANS) School-based programmes could help curb the amount of anti-depressants being prescribed to students, says a new study.
School counsellor Mark Taylor of University of Queensland (UQ) found that symptoms of depression could be reduced by teaching students the skills of conflict resolution and positive thinking and encouraging exercise.

“Working in a school setting as a counsellor I became concerned about the number of students who were being prescribed anti-depressants, without what I considered to be enough effort to find out what was going on in the lives of these students,” Taylor said.

“I wanted to substantiate that there are viable alternatives to anti-depressants which can significantly reduce depressive symptoms,” he said.

With the aim of increasing the sense of wellbeing in young adolescents, Taylor tested intervention methods — explanatory style, conflict resolution and physical exercise — with 25 students displaying mild symptoms of depression.

Each intervention was conducted over a one-month period, with eight explanatory lessons and six conflict resolution training sessions as well.

Taylor said by being proactive, schools had the potential to assist students experiencing depression and could reduce the need for medical intervention.

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