Initial findings from a novel school-based program, EMPATHY, which may help reduce depression and suicidality in youth.
Silverstone, P.~~Bercov, M.~~et al.
We describe initial pilot findings from a novel school-based approach to reduce youth depression and suicidality, the Empowering a Multimodal Pathway Towards Healthy Youth (EMPATHY) program. Here we present the findings from the pilot cohort of 3,244 youth aged 11Ð18 (Grades 6-12). They were screened for depression, suicidality, anxiety, use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco (DAT), quality-of-life, and self-esteem. Additionally, all students in Grades 7 and 8 (mean ages 12.3 and 13.3 respectively) also received an 8-session cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) based program designed to increase resiliency to depression. Following screening there were rapid interventions for the 125 students (3.9%) who were identified as being actively suicidal, as well as for another 378 students (11.7%) who were felt to be at higher-risk of self-harm based on a combination of scores from all the scales. These results suggest that a multimodal school-based program may provide an effective and pragmatic approach to help reduce youth depression and suicidality.