Friday, March 8, 2013

Problem Definition: Childhood Depression

Children and teenagers face many new changes throughout their lives during those times of growth and exploration. In the United States there has been an increase in rates of depression in teenagers between 12-17 years old from 2004-2009.
                Childhood depression is an especially relevant problem. For one, these children eventually grow up to become adults that have to live and be able to function in a fast-paced world. Therefore, it is important to address mental health problems such as this in children early so that they can be treated. In addition, depression can also be the cause of or go hand in hand with other health problems. Children with depression can suffer socially as well as physically and mentally. Socially, children who suffer from depression tend to withdraw from situations and people. They also may become moody or indulge in negative behaviors such as drugs and risky behaviors. It may also be difficult for them to express their feelings or emotions. One of the correlations is that depression is also linked to suicide. Depressed children may begin having thoughts related to death because of their low-self-esteem and may often seem hopeless and alone. Relating this to public health, prevention of mental health diseases can ultimately help prevent these unfortunate and untimely deaths.
                This topic is very interesting because depression in children can sometimes go by under the radar. It is important for parents to observe their children and be able to see symptoms and act on them promptly. I would like to investigate how depression even begins and how it is diagnosed. I would also like to understand why it is occurring at faster rates and due to what factors whether it be because of the media, school pressures, or things like sudden life changes and being immersed in different environments. Because depression in children once was not seen as common place, or the children’s behaviors was just disregarded as being moody, seeing how depression was actually expanded to including children is also really interesting.
                Childhood depression is socially relevant in that it affects a very important and vulnerable part of the population. As a child it may be difficult to cope with everything that it is occurring in your life. When others understand and respond appropriately, they can make the situation better instead of making it worse. In addition to this, the mindset of society, with the media, name brands, and the notion that it’s better to be cool and popular, feeds into behaviors such as bullying. If I remember correctly, in school kids were relentless, but they are not fully aware that their behavior can impact someone else so negatively. Treatment and pressures like this are taxing on adults, much less on the minds of children who are constantly learning and trying to find themselves.
                All in all, it is essential that the cause of this trend is identified so that measures can be taken to sufficiently decrease these cases of depression. Seeing that depression can cause other health problems, preventing this mental illness can then aid in the prevention of others perhaps.


  1. I think your topic is fascinating and it's one that is somewhat similar to my own problem definition. I thought that your problem definition was generally good, but I think you could even get more specific if you want which could make for an even more interesting paper. Personally, I found your mention of media in relation to childhood depression especially notable, perhaps because of my own personal interest in the subject. But it is something of note, especially when considering social media bullying and how this may affect the current generation of youth differently than those past. Bullying has always existed, but how has this new form of doing it changed the game and influenced the rate of childhood depression or even suicide? There's probably some research out there on this. Sorry for the rant, just a thought. Nice post!

  2. I think this is an excellent topic. First think about your data sources that you will use to prove that the problem is significant and that it has been getting worse during the time period selected. Consider whether it is due to depression being screened for more often, or whether the actual true rates of depression are increasing. What is the logic behind choosing 12-17 and the time frame you selected? While we encourage a narrow focus, it is important to discuss why you have selected those limits and to use relevant data to show the "magnitude of the problem".