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A brief Intervention Might Help To Deal With Depression

intervention that consisted of a personalized feedback letter and a brochure. The letter began with a paragraph that told the students the concerns they reported during the assessment were consistent with depression and that this is a common experience for college students. The letter then reflected the personal concerns students expressed. It also listed the various coping strategies each was already using to deal with his or her depression, and indicated that there were many things the students could do to reduce depression.

The brochure, prepared for the study, listed six types of strategies students could use – social support, pleasant activities, exercise, self-help literature, meditation and spirituality, and medication – to help relieve their depression. The brochure also gave the students examples of problem solving and how to change their thought processes. Finally, it provided a list of on- and off-campus treatment resources

The other group of students received thank-you letters for participating in the study. These letters listed common depression symptoms and provided a list of on- and off-campus telephone numbers students could call for help.

One month later, both groups were reevaluated to look at the impact of the feedback.

Geisner and Larimer said the idea of brief intervention treatment for depression needs more refinement and study but is promising, particularly because of its low cost. They estimate it cost less than $2 per person to deliver the treatment in this study. Other low-cost strategies that could be tested include weekly boosters delivered by e-mail and an Internet version of the treatment.

"The beauty of this study is that these people were not seeking help when they were sitting in a classroom, but help was brought to them," said Larimer. "People who received this brief intervention felt less hopeless and depressed, both physically and emotionally. Depression is a very costly
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