Depression rates in young people have risen sharply in the past decade, especially in females, which is of concern because adolescence is a period of rapid social, emotional, and cognitive development and key life transitions. Adverse outcomes associated with depression in young people include depression recurrence; the onset of other psychiatric disorders; and wider, protracted impairments in interpersonal, social, educational, and occupational functioning. Thus, prevention and early intervention for depression in young people are priorities. Preventive and early intervention strategies typically target predisposing factors, antecedents, and symptoms of depression. Young people who have a family history of depression, exposure to social stressors (eg, bullying, discordant relationships, or stressful life events), and belong to certain subgroups (eg, having a chronic physical health problem or being a sexual minority) are at especially high risk of depression. Clinical antecedents include depressive symptoms, anxiety, and irritability. Evidence favours indicated prevention and targeted prevention to universal prevention. Emerging school-based and community-based social interventions show some promise. Depression is highly heterogeneous; therefore, a stepwise treatment approach is recommended, starting with brief psychosocial interventions, then a specific psychological therapy, and then an antidepressant medication.
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