General Information

Depression Education

Depression affects approximately 5% of today's teenagers. Of these, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment, even though studies show treatments of depression in adolescents can be effective. Suicide, the most serious risk of depression, is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. It is imperative that high school students, parents, and teachers understand the clear link between depression and suicide. Since depression is the primary cause of suicide, depression education can be effective suicide prevention.

Unfortunately, depression education is not a standard part of the health curriculum for the majority of high schools. Among schools that do address depression in health classes, very few discuss depression as a medical illness.

Student Curriculum

ADAP's student curriculum provides high quality, up-to-date information on Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder. The core messages of the program are that depression is a treatable medical illness and that concerned students should seek help from a trusted adult. In order to increase knowledge and decrease stigma, the student curriculum also includes the following:

  • Identifying symptoms of depression
  • Understanding the process of medical decision making
  • Seeing parallels between depression and other medical illnesses
  • Realizing that no one is to blame
  • Recognizing suicide as a potential consequence of depression
  • Understanding that depression is a treatable medical illness

The student curriculum is three hours in length and employs multiple teaching modalities, including interactive lectures, videos, films assignments, homework, and group activities. While the student curriculum is usually taught in health classes, it is also possible to present the material elsewhere.


In order to achieve the program’s mission of expanding nationally, the ADAP team has developed a comprehensive instructor training program.  The content of the instructor training program includes:

  • A review of ADAP’s development and rationale for focusing on depression education
  • Intensive education about the prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment of mood disorders with special emphasis on adolescent depression
  • A parent’s perspective on adolescent depression
  • First-person descriptions of the experience of living with a mood disorder
  • A detailed review of the ADAP curriculum content to supplement the training manual and DVDs

Through its instructor training program, ADAP has prepared mental health professionals, nursing and medical students, and school-based professionals to teach the ADAP student curriculum.  The instructor training program is approximately 5 hours in length and can be completed online or in-person. The online instructor training can be completed in multiple sittings, at your own pace. Continuing education credit* is available.

While there is no fee for the online instructor training, we do ask that participants join us in collecting data on the effectiveness of the student curriculum and the instructor training program.  The data collection will involve administering the ADAP Depression Knowledge Questionnaire (ADKQ) pre- and post-tests to the high school students participating in the program and returning the tests to ADAP for analysis. All student testing is anonymous and no personal health information is elicited.  For those who request feedback, ADAP will provide participants with the results of the pre- and post-testing to determine if the program had the intended effect of improving knowledge and attitudes about Depression.  We also ask that participants complete a registration sheet and questionnaires before the instructor training as well as a brief feedback upon completion to determine the effectiveness of our instructor training efforts.  All participants must agree to use the materials as intended and not share the materials at this point in time.

Once you have completed the instructor training, please contact the ADAP team to order your Instructor’s Kit (which includes the student curriculum and teaching materials) and to coordinate the administration and collection of the pre- and post-test surveys. The ADAP team can also provide suggestions for how best to implement the program in your school. Please contact us at

For additional information about the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, click here.

* We provide a certificate of completion which can be presented to your state or educational agency. In a number of states, this applies towards continuing education hours however it may be helpful to verify this within your own state if there is a question.