Can texting be used to keep teens from becoming depressed?

Todd Vandenbark

depressed teen holding her face with left hand.Preventing depression in teens can help them avoid social dysfunction, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, suicide, and mental health conditions in adulthood. A study recently published in the online Journal of Medical Internet Research tested whether a ”depression prevention intervention for adolescents”  delivered via texting could help. This double-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted in high schools in Auckland, New Zealand, from June 2009 through April 2011 using 855 students ranging in age from 13 – 17.  Results from follow-up questionnaires showed that participants in the intervention group were more successful and remaining positive and getting rid of negative thoughts than the control group. Changes in clinician-based depression scores of participants are yet to be completed, but if similar in effectiveness, this could provide parents, schools and mental health professionals a new tool for combating teenage depression.

Would you sign up for such a program? What ways has texting and communicating with others electronically provided you with support to get through rough times? Tell us about it!