Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources


Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources

Adolescents experience different contemporary issues that impact their lives and interactions with others. Mental health issues are some of the critical contemporary matters that impact adolescents. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in seven adolescents experience a mental disorder accounting for about 13% of global disease burden in this age group. Depression, anxiety and behavioral disorder are among the leading causes of disability and diseases among adolescents with suicide being the fourth leading cause of demise in this group (WHO, 2021). Adolescents require support and resources to overcome these issues and lead better lives. The purpose of this paper is to describe depression as a contemporary issue affecting adolescents.

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Adolescent Depression

Teen depression is a mental health problem that makes adolescents feel sad and lose interest in life’s activities. Depression affects how one feels, thinks and behaves. The condition causes physical, emotional and psychological dysfunction impacting the ability to concentrate on certain tasks and roles. Teenage depression is a critical public health issue because of its effects can be life threatening (Selph & McDonagh, 2019). Depression leads to disruptions in brain functions and muddles the emotional interface of an individual leading to poor quality life and susceptibility to adverse events and thought processes.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) asserts that over 3.2 million teenagers between 12 and 17 years experienced a major depressive episode in 2017 translating to over 13% of the teenage population in the United States (Dummett & Williams, 2018). Teenage girls are three times more likely to experience depression than boys. Further, depression is the leading cause of teenage suicide. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 years. The implication is that depression is a major health concern that needs solutions and effective approaches to mitigate its adverse effects.

External Stressors

Studies show that a host of stressors and factors existing related to depression in adolescents. These include biological, psychological, and environmental. Biological external stressors include being overweight, having chronic illnesses like diabetes, early puberty; especially in girls, family history of depression, and being a member of the LGBTQ, as well as female sex. Psychological stressors include body shape dissatisfaction, early dieting, Internet gaming disorder, less attachment to parents and peers, and peer pressure or problem. Low self-esteem and lack of self-kindness can also lead to depression. Teens with past history of other mental health and behavioral problems are also susceptible to suffering from depression (Selph & McDonagh, 2019).  Studies also show that increased and problematic use of social media sites like Facebook can also lead to depression. Further, external pressure to succeed academically and conform to parental demands may lead to depression.

Adolescents become susceptible to depression due to environment stressors that include difficulties in academic progression, being bullied or victimization and witnessing violence. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect also lead to depression. Exposure to natural disasters and calamities exacerbates one’s vulnerability to depression. Discrimination, few opportunities for physical activity, loss of parents and loved ones and low socioeconomic status also leads to depression. Individual teens who experience low parental involvement and rejection may also suffer from depression.

Assessment Strategies to Screen Depression

Screening for depression is essential as it allows diagnosis and interventions to help the individual. One of the most effective tools to screen teens for depression is the PHQ-A and Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale (KADS).The PHQ-A is mostly used because it offers a head-to-toe assessment of adolescent and is easy to administer. Besides, it is brief and suited for adolescents who may not be interested in lengthy processes (Boers et al., 2019). The head-to-toe approach allows nurses to effective observe all signs and symptoms of depression in the affected teenager for effective interventions. Nurse assessment should look at any physical anomalies like changes in moods, emotions and high levels of fear. An effective neurological evaluation will recognize any functional issues. The assessment begins by observing mood, behavior, and ability to interact with the assessor (Selph & McDonagh, 2019). External stressors during assessment may include parental fear, peer pressure, fear, and possible dysfunction of different areas of the body.

Additional Assessment Questions

The assessor needs to ask more questions like if the teenager has ever been a victim of bullying, violence, and physical abuse and neglect. The assessor should also ask about self-esteem, especially what the teenager feels about themselves. Thirdly, it is essential for the assessor to inquire about the social network of the patient to identify potential instances of cyber bullying, peer pressure and family depression history. Ethical issues and considerations like maintaining confidentiality are essential for the assessor. The information gathered from the teen patient should not be divulged to their parents without their express consent (Miller & Campo, 2021). However, safety concerns like possible bodily harm and if the teen is a minor may require the assessor to involve parents and guardians based on existing principles like autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence. The implication is that the assessor should understand the different components of ethical conduct in assessment.

Support Options

Teenagers suffering from depression require significant support from different players, right from parents to mental health professionals and organizations. Teenagers can also seek help from primary health providers, contact depression and suicide prevention hotlines and websites, and reach out to fried and loved ones as well as spiritual leaders like pastors and priests. Access to information can help adolescents deal with the problem (Selp & McDonagh, 2019). Education and awareness are essential in building skills to handle depression. Parents should offer emotional and physical support by ensuring that the affected children enjoy increased attachment. Peer support is equally important for the adolescents dealing with depression.


Depression is a contemporary issue affecting millions of adolescents not just in the United States but across the world. Depression arises from external factors like peer pressure, family situation, and biological aspects like being female. Imperatively, assessment for diagnosis and treatment and support are essential in overcoming the problem. Adolescents should seek help from different stakeholders and resources to deal with depression due its devastating effects.



Boers, E., Afzali, M. H., Newton, N., & Conrod, P. (2019). Association of screen time and

depression in adolescence. JAMA pediatrics, 173(9), 853-859. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1759

Dummett, N., & Williams, C. (2018). Overcoming Teenage Low Mood and Depression: A Five

            Areas Approach. CRC Press.

Miller, L., & Campo, J. V. (2021). Depression in adolescents. New England Journal of Medicine,

385(5), 445-449. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra2033475

Selph, S., & McDonagh, M. S. (2019). Depression in children and adolescents: Evaluation and

treatment. American family physician, 100(10), 609-617.

World Health Organization (WHO) (2021 November 17). Adolescent mental health.

Research the range of contemporary issues teenagers face today. In a 500-750-word paper, choose one issue (besides teen pregnancy) and discuss its effect on adolescent behavior and overall well-being. Include the following in your submission:

Describe the contemporary issue and explain what external stressors are associated with this issue.
Outline assessment strategies to screen for this issue and external stressors during an assessment for an adolescent patient. Describe what additional assessment questions you would need to ask and define the ethical parameters regarding what you can and cannot share with the parent or guardian.
Discuss support options for adolescents encountering external stressors. Include specific support options for the contemporary issue you presented.
You are required to cite a minimum of three peer-reviewed sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years, appropriate for the assignment criteria, and relevant to nursing practice.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources – Rubric

Contemporary Issue and Associated External Stressors
27.5 points


Assessment Strategies to Screen for the Issue and External Stressors
33 points

Support Options for Adolescents Encountering External Stressors
27.5 points


Thesis Development and Purpose
5.5 points


Argument Logic and Construction
5.5 points

Mechanics of Writing (includes spelling, punctuation, grammar, language use)
5.5 points

Paper Format (use of appropriate style for the major and assignment)
2.2 points

Documentation of Sources
3.3 points

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