The Michigan Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Program: School-Based Prevention to Address Depression Among Teens

Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Apr 1;69(4):487-491. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2018 Mar 1.


Objective: The Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Program (P2P) is a school-based program that aims to decrease mental illness and promote well-being among students by empowering high school students as both learners and educators. Specific goals include improving the school climate around mental health, directing students to resources, and encouraging help-seeking behavior.

Methods: In the 2015-2016 academic year, 121 students across 10 high schools organized into teams and were trained to develop and implement peer-to-peer depression awareness campaigns. Outcomes were assessed via pre- and posttest questionnaires.

Results: A total of 878 students completed questionnaires. Outcomes demonstrated improved knowledge and attitudes toward depression, increased confidence in identifying and referring peers with depression, improved help-seeking intentions, and reduced stigma.

Conclusions: The P2P program increased depression literacy through the use of youth-designed and youth-implemented depression awareness and outreach activities, which may ultimately result in earlier detection of depression and in fewer depression sequelae.

Keywords: Adolescents/adolescence; Depression; Prevention; Public education; Stigma; peer-based intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Peer Group*
  • Program Development*
  • Schools*