What is the Efectiveness of Peer-Support Occupational Therapy Interventions on Improving the Mental Health of Youth with a Mental Health Disorder?: Critically Appraised Topic

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Huhn, Micaela
Kissmann, Nicole
Ortiz, Jordan
Young, Cassidy
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Depression and anxiety disorders are two of the most common mental health issues that affect society today and depression in particular is responsible for creating the biggest impact on decreased overall health and loss of function (Gunnarsson et al., 2021). Mental health disorders, particularly anxiety and depressive disorders negatively impact the daily lives of people by adversely affecting occupations, contributing to feelings of hopelessness and worry, and creating difficulty managing life situations (Gunnarsson et al., 2021). In addition to reporting experiencing problems in their occupations, the participants reported being dissatisfied with their performance of their occupations (Gunnarsson et al., 2021). Furthermore, the dissatisfaction with their occupational performance was rated as more severe than the problem with their occupational performance. Understanding the vast and negative impacts that mental health disorders can have on people makes the prevalence of these disorders even more alarming. Current research indicates that about one out of every four to five youth meet the criteria detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for a lifetime mental health disorder (Youth.gov, 2022). Additional research indicates that about 17% of youth will experience a behavioral, emotional, or mental health disorder in their lifetime with substance misuse, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety being the most common diagnoses (Youth.gov, 2022). The onset of half of mental health disorders in youth typically occurs by age 14 with the highest rate of serious mental health disorders occurring in late adolescence, early adulthood (between ages 18 and 25) (Youth.gov, 2022). Not only do mental health disorders impact occupational performance and satisfaction with their performance, but they also impose a large economic burden on society. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that total healthcare costs for children with mental health disorders were significantly higher than for children without a mental health disorder. Similarly, costs for office visits, emergency room visits, and prescription drugs were twice as high for children with a mental health disorder than for children without (Suryavanshi & Yang, 2016). A study conducted by Davis (2014), cited within Suryavanshi & Yang (2016), estimated that the cost of childhood mental health disorders amounts to about $10.9 billion annually. Finally, the persistence of mental health disorders from childhood to adulthood poses further financial implications as untreated or improperly treated mental health conditions can lead to substance misuse disorders, criminal activity, and unemployment which all burden social welfare and disability support programs (Suryavanshi & Yang, 2016).
Creighton University
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