The Use of Adventure Therapy to Support Adolescents with Depression
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Depression amongst adolescents is on the rise and is of great concern. Literature suggests that there is a lack of alternative therapies to treat adolescent depression. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is one of the most used and effective forms of treatment for depression in clinical and school settings. However, it may not work for everyone and is not the only beneficial therapy. Adventure Therapy offers one type of program that may prove useful for some youth in supporting their mental health. This paper examines current literature related to adolescent depression and Adventure Therapy to explore its effectiveness as a form of treatment for depression in a school setting. Many studies have shown Adventure Therapy to be a moderately effective form of treatment that has the potential to improve one’s overall functioning and mental health. Through the use of adventure activities in nature, adolescents are able to experience personal growth, improved interpersonal skills, and mastery of skills that may improve ones’ self-concept. This is an important finding for school districts and all employees involved in supporting adolescent mental health within a school, especially adolescents looking for an alternative to traditional therapy in an office. Students are lacking social skills and confidence leading to feelings of isolation and hopelessness. A group Adventure Therapy program developed for schools is proposed to help support students in their fight against depression, gain the skills necessary to improve social skills and networks, develop resilience, improve physical and mental health, and connect with nature in new ways.