Teenage depression is a widespread concern…


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MESSAGE OF HOPE: There are plenty of options for helping teenagers who are feeling depressed

On a blustery and cold night this winter, almost 200 parents turned up at a public meeting in Christchurch to hear about teenagers and depression.

The numbers making that effort suggest that teens and depression is of widespread concern in the city. But most of those parents would have left the meeting feeling more optimistic than when they arrived. That’s because the key message was: There are lots of options for helping teenagers who are feeling depressed and every day there are teens who recover from feeling down.

The meeting was part of a national promotion of Auckland University’s online programme called Sparx. This is a computer game specifically designed to help teens struggling with depression. A quarter of those who have registered with Sparx, which is free to use, are from Canterbury.

Sparx is breaking new ground in its use of the online gaming world to help reach teens, says the programme’s co-creator, Dr Terry Fleming, from the University of Auckland’s Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health.

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