Call for happiness lessons as teenage depression increases

Call for happiness lessons as teenage depression increases

The number of teenagers showing signs of depression has risen dramatically over the last 50 years, a mental health expert has revealed.

The average age for the first signs of depression is now 14 and 1/2, whereas it was almost 30 half a century ago.

US-based psychologist Dr Martin Seligman says lessons in happiness should be on the school curriculum to try to improve young people’s mental health.

Speaking at a conference in London yesterday, Seligman said a $2.8m (ê_Ô£1.6m), three-year study in the United States found that children who had been taught “positive psychology” performed better in class. Teachers also reported these young people had higher social skills and were more engaged

“The evidence is that wellbeing is synergistic with traditional learning: people who are in positive states learn better,” he told the conference, organised by the Young Foundation and its local wellbeing project.

Seligman’s ideas of “positive education” are now being tested in schools in Manchester, south Tyneside and Hertfordshire. Pupils are being taught how to handle day-to-day stress, assertiveness, decision-making and how to change negative thoughts.

To read more from the UK’s Guardian – click here