On November 13, 2019, educators, researchers, and North Texas residents gathered at Frisco Hall to engage in a discussion about the importance of addressing mental health needs early in life; specifically in adolescents. The discussion was moderated by Madhukar Trivedi, M.D., Founding Director of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care (CDRC). Panelists included Jennifer Hughes, Ph.D., M.PH., Head of UT Southwestern’s Risk and Resilience Network at the CDRC, Sharon Hoover, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Jeff Bostic, M.D., Ed.D, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and child psychiatry faculty member at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
Beyond sharing exciting updates about mental health progress developing in the North Texas community, the discussion fostered an engaging dialogue around the rise of mental illness in early stages of life and the gap that exists in today’s current educational and clinical resources.
Addressing a Rising Problem
Findings from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that half of all mental health problems begin by age 14. Not only do mental health issues take root early, but they affect a large scope of teenagers. Approximately 3.2 million 12-to-17 year olds have had a least one major depressive episode, according to a National Institute of Mental Health report.
“We need to be connecting not just to the physical safety, but the emotional safety of kids at their schools.”
Sharon Hoover, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
UT Southwestern’s Risk and Resilience Network is implementing a wide range of education and research programs in Texas schools, offering everything from role-playing sessions to informational lectures that integrate mental health and suicide prevention education into a standard classroom setting.
“When it comes to mental health, we only address it when there is a crisis, and we need to change that.”
Madhukar Trivedi, M.D., Founding Director of UT Southwestern’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care (CDRC)
A Step Forward
Beyond engaging directly with teenagers, The Risk and Resilience Network also plays a role in clinical efforts. The network helps facilitate research at the CDRC, which is developing a wide range of methods to help scientists better address mental health needs through more effective treatment.
The CDRC and Risk and Resilience Network are transforming the mental health landscape by making unprecedented strides in improving early diagnosis and treatment of mental health illness. With the support and generosity of the North Texas community, leading-edge programs continue to address a vital need for a disruption in the way mental health is understood and treated.