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A brief Intervention Might Help To Deal With Depression

Researchers from the University of Washington using the alcohol abuse treatment as their guidelines, have used it to successfully //test a low-cost yet brief intervention to help deal with depression, which has become the No. 1 mental health problem in the United States.

Students with mild depression who received the intervention through the mail reported a 20 percent reduction in the severity of their symptoms one month later, compared with an 8 percent drop for another group that was not treated. In addition, feelings of hopelessness among the students who received the brief intervention dropped 31 percent, while those emotions only fell 7 percent for the other students.

Brief interventions have been utilized effectively in alcohol treatment for a number of years, and the concept transferred to depression, said Irene Markman Geisner, lead author of a study appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and a psychology doctoral student at the University of Washington.

"There is a tendency to think that college students are a privileged group with no real problems. But depression is a serious concern among college students," said Mary Larimer, a study co-author and UW associate professor of psychiatry and behavior sciences. "Our counseling centers are overrun with depression, as well as other problems."

"At any given time, up to 35 percent of college students have depressed moods," said Geisner. "They are not clinically depressed, per se, but their mood clouds their academic and social lives and puts them at much greater risk for future clinical depression."

For the study, nearly 1,200 students were screened for symptoms of depression. More than 200 met the criteria for depression, and 177 were recruited and completed a more-detailed baseline assessment for depression and how they cope with it.

A week after this assessment, half of the students received the
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