Research indicates that depressed teens are more likely to commit suicide compared to those that do not experience depression (King, Strunk & Sorter, 2011). It also shows that cases of suicide are few during the early stages of an individual’s development, but increase as youths approach adulthood (King, Strunk & Sorter, 2011).
According to Erford et al (2011), the prevalence of depression among youths between 18 and 25 years is approximately 25%, yet during earlier stages of their development, the prevalence of depression is as low as 3%.
McWhirter, McWhirter, McWhirter & McWhirter (2013) proposed some dos and don’ts that people handling an at-risk youth must adhere to in order to appropriately handle the youth and avoid catastrophes.
Among them include not using antidepressants, using assessment questions in determining the exact problem the youth is experiencing, fostering social connectedness and stimulating correct thinking and actions (McWhirter, McWhirter, McWhirter & McWhirter, 2013).
In dealing with Manuel, I will only use the four dos and don’ts listed above. I will first of all use assessment questions in establishing the real cause of his depression and his lack of interest in life. During the treatment process, I will avoid using antidepressants and instead concentrate of psychotherapy.
I will also create enough time to meet his family, friends and schoolmates with the view of asking them to make him part of them. Lastly, I will use all means possible to stimulate his thinking so that he can differentiate between what is right and what is wrong.
According to Erford et al (2010), antidepressants have been proven ineffective in dealing with depression in teens. In fact, studies show that antidepressants aggravate the problem rather than reducing it as is expected (Erford et al, 2010).
The proponents of this idea argue that psychotherapy remains to be the best method of handling depressed individuals. Therefore, in dealing with Manuel, I will avoid the use of antidepressants as much as possible. Instead, I will use psychotherapy and other social methods.
It is good to know everything that surrounds a patient’s depression before embarking on the process of treating him. What he says about the cause of the depression may not be enough to show why he contemplates suicide Erford et al (2010).
Therefore, there is need to interrogate him further in order to determine the real cause of his depression (King & Vidourek, 2012). This means I will have to come up with properly structured questions in order to establish the real cause and the extent of Manuel’s depression.
I will formulate the questions in a way that will not make them provocative since doing so may make the problem more serious than it was before.
The other method of handling at-risk youths, especially those experiencing depression is making them feel appreciated by the people around them (King & Vidourek, 2012).
This is possible through building social connectedness. According to King & Vidourek (2012), social connectedness is divided into family connectedness, school connectedness and community connectedness. Family connectedness entails ensuring that the family of the patient treats him in a way that makes him feel part of them and appreciated.
School connectedness, on the other hand, entails proper treatment of the patient by schoolmates and teachers while community connectedness involves the entire community. The community is expected to treat the patient in a way that makes him feel important and valued (King, Strunk & Sorter, 2011).
Therefore, I will have to meet Manuel’s family and talk to them about the need to change their attitudes towards him. I will ask his parents and siblings to make him feel part of the family.
I will then go to his school and talk to his teachers and classmates. It will also be necessary for me to meet his friends at home and talk to them and also ask his family to talk to the community about the need to handle Manuel with respect.
Clark & Straub (2010) argue that it is the responsibility of the professional psychotherapist to ensure that the client’s mind thinks positively. The professional should try his or her best to ensure that a depressed at-risk youth changes his attitude towards the cause of the depression and life in general (King, Strunk & Sorter, 2011).
Stimulating the right thinking in the patient leads to better decision-making (King, Strunk & Sorter, 2011). This means that the chances of committing suicide become less. In my case, I will let Manuel know that life has many positive things despite the challenges people experience.
I will also help him realize that it is normal for people to experience difficulties once in a while, and that there are always ways out of every difficult situation. This talk will help him start thinking positively about life and shun the negative thinking. He will have the self-efficacy necessary for handling depressing situations positively.
This is the best way to handle depression since the patient is actively involved in his own healing recovery process.
Clark, C. & Straub, J. (2010). The quick-reference guide to counseling teenagers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Erford, M. B., Erford, T.B., Lattanzi, G., Weller, J., Schein, H., Wolf, E.,…Peacock, E. (2011). Counseling outcomes from 1990 to 2008 for school-age youth with depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling and Development 89(1): 439-452.
King, K., Strunk, C. & Sorter, M. (2011). Preliminary effectiveness of surviving the teens’ suicide prevention and depression awareness program on adolescents’ suicidality and self-efficacy in performing help-seeking behaviors. Journal of School Health 81(9): 581-588.
King, K. & Vidourek, R. (2012). Teen depression and suicide: Effective prevention and intervention strategies. The Prevention Researcher 19(4): 15-17.
McWhirter, J., McWhirter, B., McWhirter, E., & McWhirter, R. (2013). At-risk youth: A comprehensive response for counselors, teachers, psychologists and human service professionals (5th ed.). Belmont, TN: Brooks/Cole Publishers.