Depressive disorders and clinically relevant depressive symptoms in adolescents are important health problems, not in the last place because the first episode of depressive disorders usually occurs in this age and the risk of a chronic course is considerable in most depressive disorders. However, it is very difficult to motivate adolescents with depressive symptoms to participate in preventive interventions, because of the stigma attached to mental health problems, lack of time, and lack of confidence that the intervention will actually work. Therefore, early interventions that can be easily applied in daily practice, and with a low risk of stigmatisation seem to be the most appropriate choice of intervention.
The current project consists of four parts:
1. Development of a well validated screening instrument for depression in adolescents. Such an instrument is currently not available in the Netherlands. We select an instrument that is user-friendly, simple, and that can be used through the internet. This instrument will be validated by administrating it to 740 adolescents of whom 250 will also receive a diagnostic interview.
2. Development of an internet-based intervention for depression. This intervention is based on cognitive behavioral modules that have been proven to be effective.
3. Implementation of the program in daily practice at school. The implementation at school is complex and has many problematic aspects. We will use an expert panel to make the difficult decisions.
4. In the fourth sub-project, we will conduct a pilot-project with the screening and early intervention program in three schools.
In another project (not included in the current proposal), we will examine the effects of the program in a randomised controlled trial.