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Addressing Distress In Teens Essay

1322 words - 6 pages

At the end of 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Healthy People 2020 yearlong goals and objectives. This is comprised of 42 topic areas that the government believes should be priority in enhancing the health of all within society3. Among the health objectives are Social Determinants of Health, Mental Health and Mental Disorders, and Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-being3. Although there has been much information and research on certain mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, little research has been done on distress. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, psychological distress is defined ...view middle of the document...

Among them, nearly 18 out of 100 those aged 18 to 25 had a higher prevalence of experiencing psychological distress than those within the 26-49 age group, which was 12 out of 100, and the 50 and older age group at 7 out of every 1004. Also, those within the age 18 to 25 range were half as likely to access mental health services than any other age range4.
The problem that we are trying to address is distress has adverse long-term effects on the developmental well being of high school teens. The onset of mental disorders in adulthood because of distress experienced by the age of 14 is 1 out of every 2 adults, and the onset for mental disorders in adulthood that occur because of distress experienced before the age of 24 is 3 out of every 4 adults13. As a consequence of high levels of distress, many other risky health behaviors have developed among the youth population such as alcohol and substance abuse and other co-morbid health issues such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder (ADH), and attention hyper active disorder (ADHD)14. Negative events have a stronger effect on those with low social support from peers within the youth population, aged 13 to 19, and even stronger negative effect on those with low social support from families16. If these problems are not addressed early on in a person’s life, they shall grow up with unnecessary psychological and mental disorders that could negatively impact their development and waste their potential contributions to their families and society.
We propose a program, Addressing Distress in High School Students, aimed to improve high school student’s relationship building skill set as a means to cope with distress. This behavioral intervention is based upon research and two evidence based interventions, Reconnecting Youth: A Peer Group Approach to Building Life Skills1 and FRIENDS2. Research behind this behavioral intervention is that social support from family and friends has been linked to significantly reduce psychological distress among high school teens14. Reconnecting Youth: A Peer Group Approach to Building Life Skills is a school-based prevention program aimed at teens aged 14-19 to teach them ways to build resistance risk factors and early indicators of drug abuse and emotional distress. A main component of this program was incorporating social support mechanisms for participating teens. Research results from this evidence-based intervention showed academic improvement within teens that participated in the program. The FRIENDS program, another evidence-based intervention, approached the youth population with more of an educational component aimed to increase the knowledge of youth participants on long-term effects of psychological distress and other mental disorders related such as anxiety and depression. Research results of this intervention showed that increasing knowledge was able to slightly reduction psychological distress. The intervention we propose, Addressing Distress in High...

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