HEALTH

Dave & Dujanovic: U. program seeks to counter depression by teaching teens to be mindful

Sep 10, 2019, 5:27 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2022, 4:17 pm

Photo: Shutterstock...

Photo: Shutterstock

A new research study seeks to reduce the risk of recurring depression in teens by using mindfulness techniques — all without any medications.

The University of Utah is conducting a research study examining how mindfulness can help teenagers stay healthy and prevent depression relapse.

On Tuesday’s Dave & Dujanovic show on KSL, Dr. Scott Langenecker, who is a clinical neuropsychologist and is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah, spoke about the study.

Dr. Langenecker said the treatment boils down to talk therapy combining Eastern and Western medicine. He said the therapy is focused on teens in order to stop depression early.

Helping teens through depression

Langenecker said depression is a chronic, recurring illness, which includes habits, such as teens not engaging with their peers, with problem-solving, and with constructive thinking.

Co-host Dave Noriega said teens naturally go through mood swings in puberty, so, he asked, how do parents know when teens actually need professional help?

Langenecker said teens go through individuation, or development of self, in which they understand that they still fit into groups, such as with their peers and with family. Teens try to make it on their own but don’t have any experience with relationships, so they don’t know which interactions with others are healthy and which are not.

“The treatment focuses on them getting some experience and skills to manage interpersonal relationships,” Langenecker said.

“When things go wrong, teens have a tendency to panic,” he said. “And this treatment can help them say, I have got some tools in my toolbox and I’ve got  some skills now and I can manage this.”

Rumination is a precursor to depression, Langenecker said.

It’s a passive, negative mindset in which people develop the habit of being stuck in their thoughts and disengaging from family and friends or spending a lot of time in their room or on social media.

“When you do that, you’re not solving any problems. You’re not engaging and moving forward in the world. So our treatment really is designed to teach teens better habits on how to manage stress and avoid avoidance,” Langenecker said.

Teaching kids mindfulness

Next, Dave asked, how do you get kids to settle down and be mindful?

“Teenagers love it,” Langenecker said. “Middle-schoolers even love it.”

He said there are innovative programs to teach kids to imagine an emotion without feeling it so intensely, and that’s what mindfulness does.

A young person lacks experience and can be overcome by an emotion, Langenecker said, but mindfulness teaches a teen to take a step back and say, “OK, that’s an emotion; it’s going to pass. What is that emotion telling me? How do I use that emotion to learn and move on?”

Co-host Debbie Dujanovic pointed out that teens and their parents are busy. She wanted to know how much time the program requires.

Langenecker said in total the program involves 20 visits — 20 to 25 hours over six months — for teens in the study. The treatment is free. The study involves an MRI scan. And the kids in the study get to keep the 3D model of their brains.

Cognitive testing is performed, which can provide accommodations in schools for kids having difficulty. Langenecker said researchers can help teachers and parents with the testing to assist the teen.

More to the story

To hear more about the research or how to help teens with depression, listen to Dave & Dujanovic below.

If you are interested in participating in the study or would like more information, please contact Dr. Scott Langenecker or Stephanie Pocius at 801-213-1087, 801-587-0113 or utahmend2lab@gmail.com.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress and contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

Hikers explore a trail, hiking is good for health, be it mental or physical...

Tim Hughes

Take a hike, it’s good for your health

As the weather warms up, consider hiking for your health. Research shows it provides not just physical benefits, but mental ones too.

2 days ago

Homelessness advocates in front of Supreme Court...

LINDSAY WHITEHURST and CLAIRE RUSH Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

It's the most significant case in the Supreme Court in decades on homelessness and comes as record numbers of people are without a permanent place to live.

2 days ago

Two e-scooters sit parked --A second person has died as a result of an accident on an e-scooter in ...

Aimee Cobabe and Heather Peterson

Second e-scooter death being investigated in Salt Lake City

A 41-year-old man died after police said he was hit while riding an e-scooter at 800 West North Temple on Sunday.

2 days ago

Image shows a person receiving a measles vaccine, Based on national behavior, measles cases are lik...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

Measles cases likely to pop up in Utah this year, health official says

Measles cases haven't made it to Utah yet but health professionals advise getting vaccinated and watching for symptoms.

2 days ago

Marijuana plants grow in a facility, medical marijuana cards are increasing...

Heather Peterson

Utah health officials see spike in medical marijuana cards

Utah has had a large spike in the number of medical marijuana cards issued to patients over the last few years.

3 days ago

vape addiction vaping marijuana...

Amie Schaeffer

Talking to teens about marijuana misuse

Gray Matters Utah talks about having conversations with teenagers about marijuana misuse.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Dave & Dujanovic: U. program seeks to counter depression by teaching teens to be mindful