Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Being Friends With Depressed People Doesn’t Affect Mental Health

A new study, which was led by the researchers from the University of Warwick has found that if you have a friend that is depressed, it does not affect your mental health. The researchers found out that if teenagers have friends, they can end up recovering from depression or avoid the depression all together in the first place.

kids depression

The results of this study come from a study of teenagers in US High Schools, and the study was looking at how teenagers in a group influenced each others’ moods. The researchers used a mathematical model in order to establish if depression was spread from friend to friend. Professor Frances Griffiths worked on the study, and he is the head of social science and systems in health at Warwick Medical School University of Warwick. He said that while depression is a worldwide public health concern, there is good news in that the healthy moods among other friends is linked to a reduced risk of developing depression, and a better chance at recovering from the depression. The results of this study can help offer ways to treat mood problems in adolescents, such as getting more friendships developed. If teenagers had more friends then they are less likely to experience depression and also if they do, the amount of times or intensity of the depression would be decreased.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and it used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. This looked at more than 2,000 teenagers across various US High Schools and the researchers examined how their moods influenced one another. The researchers used models similar to that of those used to track infections in order to track the spread of moods. The adolescents were classified as either having depression symptoms, such as low mood, or not being depressed at all, which is a healthy mood. A score cut-off was associated with the clinical diagnosis of depression. The researchers found that while depression did not spread, if the person had enough friends who had healthy moods, then it could cut the probability of developing depression in half, and it could double the chances of recovery if the person was depressed over a 6 to 12 month period. The model also suggested that the adolescents who had five or more healthy friends in terms of mental status ended up with half the probability of being depressed as the adolescents who did not have mentally healthy friends. The teenagers who had 10 healthy friends also had twice the probability of recovering from a depression and the symptoms associated with it compared to the teenagers who only had a few mentally healthy friends.

The researchers of this study say that there is a great benefit to adolescents when it comes to helping them form friendships, because this study shows that there is no negative to letting people develop these friendships. Even if the person developed friendships with someone who was depressed, there is no risk of them being depressed by being around that person, but the good mental health of one person could help the depressed person overcome their symptoms. It is important for parents to help adolescents form these friendships and social support groups, because social support can help people overcome their depression and also can help alleviate symptoms often associated with depression, which could last months after the initial depression goes away. Of course, if you notice that a friend of your child is seeming very depressed or your child tells you that the friend said they were going to commit suicide, then that is definitely something you need to take seriously. Make sure you talk to your child about the importance of knowing the difference between just a depressed friend and a friend who is talking about taking their own life, and make sure your child knows that these types of threats should be taken seriously and that they should seek out the parent of the child or mental health services through the school in order to get them the help that they need. While a normal level of depression in teenage years is pretty common, just make sure that you let your child know what is acceptable depression symptoms and what is a more serious issue because you don’t want your child caught up in a friend who kills themselves, because this could then cause your child to feel responsible just because they were happy and their friend was not and they did not say anything when their friend mentioned suicide.

Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.


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