The percentage of girls aged 12 to 15 years who experienced a major depressive episode has tripled from 5.1% to 15.2% in the last year.
Girls suffer depression more than boys
The report is by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is based on data from the 2008 and 2010 SAMHA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report also revealed that each year an average of 1.4 million adolescent girls between 12 and 17 years old suffers from a major depressive episode. This is three times higher than their male counterparts. The NSDUH survey reviews materials from over 67,000 individuals over the age of 12.
Depressive episode defined
A major depressive episode is defined by a person suffering a period of depressed mood or loss of interest that lasts two weeks or longer. There must also be one of four other symptoms that indicate a change in functional behavior including sleep problems, eating disorders, lack of concentration or energy and difficulty with self-image.
Adolescent girls need coping skills
“It is crucial that we provide adolescent girls the coping skills and social supports they need to avoid the onset of depression, and to offer behavioral health services that foster resilience and recovery if they experience it. These efforts are a sound investment in girls’ health and well-being and in our nation’sfuture,” said Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator.
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Older girls do get therapy
Fortunately, the report also showed that older adolescent girls with major depressive episodes received more treatment than their younger peers. About two-fifths of girls aged 15-17 received therapy compared to one-third of the younger group aged 12-14 years.