Back to top

Addressing Depression in Schools

Statement of Problem

Numerous studies have shown that teen rates of depression, anxiety and other behavioral health conditions have been on the rise in recent decades. Despite their increasing prevalence, between 60 to 90 percent of teens don’t receive treatment for their conditions. In our team’s prior school-based work for which we screened middle and high school students for depression, 20-40 percent of students reported elevated symptoms of depression, which can have a tremendous impact on their physical health and academic success. For example, other researchers have found that students who report having some type of emotional difficulty are three times as likely to be tardy or absent from school compared to those without these issues, and another showed that 83 percent of students with emotional and behavioral disorders scored below the average student in reading, writing and math.

Though mental health conditions arise from numerous complicated genetic and environmental factors, research has shown that we can prevent some cases or at least reduce the severity of the condition. Preventive interventions provide a critical opportunity to set students on a path to improved overall health and well-being, and schools offer an opportune and underused setting to deliver these services.


Next Steps

Our ultimate goal is to take our findings and develop and refine interventions that can be disseminated to other school districts and communities so that every adolescent can receive the behavioral health care they need and ultimately transition into healthy, productive adults.

This project page was last updated in January 2020.

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Addressing Mental Health Conditions in Schools [Online].  [Accessed: plug in date accessed here]. 

More projects from Health Needs in Adolescence View More Projects

More projects from Integration into Schools View More Projects