Over this past week, I have refined my topic for Junior Theme and began more extensive research on this topic. After finding a shocking statistic--that in 2013 only 38.1% of adolescents who had an episode of major depression in the past year were receiving treatment for it--I knew that I wanted my why question to be: Why are so many young people with depression not receiving the treatment they need? One answer to this question that I have found especially interesting and saddening is that poor quality of depression treatment is deterring people from getting themselves or their kids treated.
The poor quality of treatment for depression is detailed in the memoir Prozac Nation, about Elizabeth Wurtzel's experience with treatment for her depression. Wurtzel describes her psychopharmacologist, who gave her her main form of treatment and who she visited when she was experiencing a bad episode of depression: "all he really does is write prescriptions and hand out pills...He's the pusherman, and it's in his interest to see that I stay loaded" (4-5). According to the Mayo Clinic Website, "[A] primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve depression symptoms. However, many people with depression also benefit from seeing a psychologist or other mental health counselor". If all the treatment Wurtzel was getting was "perscription" and "pills", she was lacking the other part of treatment that many people "benefit from". Especially since she was still experiencing bad episodes of depression while receiving treatment from Dr. Ira and did not want to take one of her medications because she worried about it affecting her health, the other talk therapy aspect of depression treatment should have been referred to her by Dr. Ira. Instead, Ira appeared to be more concerned about his own financial interests than her mental health, as he was the "pusherman" and would make more money if she simply stayed "loaded" on the drugs that did not appear to be enough to fully treat her depression. Wurtzel received very poor quality treatment for her depression by Dr. Ira, and therefore she did not want to continue with treatment and at times even stopped taking her medication, going completely untreated due to the poor quality of the treatment being given to her.
The article "'Many' Teens Struggle With Untreated Mental Illness, But School Screening Still Lacking" by Kelli Kennedy supports this idea of treatment consisting of only medication and no other kind of support, which makes it of poor quality and undesirable. In the article, a woman whose son was perscribed Prozac after being recommended by his school to seek psychiatric treatment states: "It just seems like [the schools] want to medicate rather than provide education support" (Kennedy 3). When schools succeed in identifying children struggling with mental disorders, which is not always the case, they do not go about getting them treatment the correct way. Good quality treatment shoud include various forms of support specific to the individual in need of treatment, such as talk therapy, and in this boy's case, education support, but the treatment given to this boy was simply medication, just like Wurtzel's treatment. People like the mother mentioned above do not want to put the children into treatment after witnessing how bad quality it is. In fact, the mother did pull her son out of treatment due to its poor quality.
If treatment for depression could be bettered in America by including all of the neccessary aspects, than most likely a lot more people would actually seek treatment for their depression. Hopefully someday this will happen and this cycle of poor treatment for depression leading to no treatment for depression will end.