Saturday, October 29, 2011

Problems Learning Can Be a Real Bummer

"Learning problems predict psychiatric distress - particularly depressed mood and depressive disorder."*
If students present with depression, then mental health professionals working in low-income urban communities would do well to screen for both trauma and learning problems.

Chronic trauma exposure is inordinately high among low-income ethnic minority urban communities and therefore a likely underlying issue.

Learning problems, common in about 15-17% of the general population, can be as high as 30% among students in communities living in poverty.

If we only treat the depression, then students may get a little better.  If we address underlying trauma (through assessment and treatment), learning problems (through screening and referral) and associated anxiety, then students may get a lot better.

*Ialongo, N.S., Werthamer, L., Kellam, S.G., Brown, C.H., Wang, S., & Lin, Y. (1999).
Proximal Impact of Two First-Grade Preventive Interventions on the Early Risk Behaviors for Later Substance Abuse, Depression, and Antisocial Behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(5), 599-640.

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