Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) Program With Texas Adolescents: Depression, Anxiety, and Substance Use Outcomes


Objective: To determine the state of mental health problems among a general youth population and assess whether the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) intervention can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Methods: We implemented YAM with a cluster quasi-experimental study design from August 2017 through June 2019 in 29 middle schools and high schools in North Texas. Students completed the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Adolescent version; the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener; and additional substance use questionnaires before YAM delivery and 3–6 months after implementation. Multilevel models, with students nested within schools, were used to model difference scores of depression and anxiety, controlling for various student-level and school-level characteristics. Missing data were imputed during analysis. Sensitivity analyses were performed on non-imputed data.

Results: Among 3,302 adolescents at pre-test, 27% had moderate-to-severe depression, 22% had moderate-to-severe anxiety, and 4% expressed suicidal ideation. We found that on average, compared to those who had no depression at pre-test, depression decreased at post-test by (a) 4.62 units (P < .05) for those who had severe to very severe depression at pre-test, (b) 2.92 units (P < .0001) for those who had moderate depression at pre-test, and (c) 1.5 units (P < .001) for those who had mild depression at pre-test, controlling for all other factors in the model. Similar significant decreases were observed in anxiety, controlling for student-level characteristics.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of YAM in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety among adolescents in North Texas.

Volume: 83

Quick Links: Anxiety , Child and Adolescent , Depression (MDD) , Substance Use Disorders

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