Reducing Depression in Metlakatla Adolescents Through Prevention and Intervention Training in Educators

Katrina D. Reitz, Bethel University


American Indian and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) are reported to experience 2.5 times more psychological distress when compared to non-indigenous populations (Anxiety and Depression Association of America [ADAA], 2020). The Metlakatla Indian Community in Alaska is one AI/AN group that has high rates of mental illness (J. Burton, personal communication, October 7, 2020). Youth in the U.S. spend approximately 20% of their time in a school setting, therefore depression prevention and intervention education programs are increasingly considered best practiced in schools (Joshi, 2019). Educators have thus been identified as individuals that can be highly effective in recognizing and intervening when a student has a depressive disorder (Joshi, 2019). For this community project a pamphlet was created with the purpose of educating Metlakatla educators. Information in the pamphlet includes why adolescent depression is a relevant issue, how educators play a vital role in recognizing depression in their students, signs and symptoms of adolescent depression, ways educators can intervene with their depressed students and available mental health resources. This information could be further administered on a broader scale in future extensions of this project.