Background: Depression is becoming increasingly prevalent in young people and is occurring earlier. General practitioners are prescribing antidepressants more frequently for this group, yet they are usually not the answer to the problem.
Objective: This article examines the increase in prevalence rates of childhood and adolescent depression. We draw on recent research into resilience and positive psychology to suggest guidelines for the GP in helping young people and their parents develop better coping skills in the short term, and greater resilience in the long term.
Discussion: Resilience is the ability to bounce back after encountering difficulties, negative events, hard times or adversity and to be able to return to the original level of emotional wellbeing. It is the capacity to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life despite adversity. Young people who have the skills to be resilient have a lower likelihood of becoming depressed or suicidal and a higher likelihood of maintaining emotional wellbeing. Self efficacy, optimistic and helpful thinking, and maintaining a success orientation are all important skills in being resilient.