Study: Every third pupil is depressed

Study: Every third pupil is depressed

DAK study: Almost every third student in Germany suffers from depressive moods

According to a study by the health insurance company DAK, about every third student in Germany suffers from depressive moods. The main reasons for this are constant stress at school and constant pressure to perform.

According to a new study by the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), unfortunately almost every third student in Germany has depressive episodes. Compared to high schools, pupils at secondary and secondary schools are significantly more affected. According to the experts, the main causes are primarily to be found in school stress and pressure to perform. This is shown by a survey of almost 6000 pupils between the ages of 11 and eighteen, which was carried out on behalf of the DAK by the Lüneburg Leuphana University at 25 schools in seven federal states.

Depressive moods very widespread In the course of the study, 24 percent of the schoolchildren surveyed stated that “they sat there often and didn't want to do anything”. Every tenth respondent agrees with the statement "no one understands me". The proportion of pupils with depressive moods increases with age - from 23 percent in the 11th year to 33 percent in the 18th year. The proportion of boys and girls is almost the same among those affected. However, the problems of the respondents differ depending on the type of school. At secondary and secondary schools, the number of pupils affected is significantly higher at 32 percent than at high schools with 24 percent. Students with a migration background are particularly problematic. Here, the proportion was particularly high at a whopping 36 percent.

"The number of mental illnesses among adults has skyrocketed in recent years," explains Dr. Cornelius Erbe, head of the DAK product management division. "The current study shows that the problems often start at school age." It is therefore important to sensitize parents and teachers to the symptoms of depression and to provide advice. Schools should also specifically advise parents.

Everyday school life puts many young people under stress and pressure to perform
Most young people with depressive moods have a hard time at school. The adolescents suffer significantly more often from a stressful class climate, strong pressure to perform (43 percent) and school stress (23 percent) than their classmates. Those affected are twice as unhappy with their performance as the boys and girls with no apparent problems. According to the study, boys and girls with depressive moods rated their life skills as lower on average. 22 percent of students with depressive moods rate their life skills as low compared to only 6 percent of those without depressive moods. "Those affected often have unfavorable coping strategies for dealing with problems," explains project manager Silke Rupprecht from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. "More than twice as many boys and girls with depressive moods (37 percent) prefer to avoid problems instead of actively solving them - compared to 18 percent of those without depressive moods." Avoiding problems could, however, stabilize mental problems contribute.

Help for schools and parents
Together with other experts, DAK and Leuphana University recommend that targeted preventive and intervention measures be carried out. For example, special skills programs for pupils with depressive moods could improve their life skills. The goal is to learn creative thinking and the ability to actively solve problems. Starting points for schools can be: Teachers and educators need further education on the subject of depression among pupils. Cooperative forms of learning can strengthen solidarity-based responsibility. And at parents 'evenings, topics relating to behavioral problems and psychological disorders can be discussed in order to raise parents' awareness.

Parents should take their children seriously Parents of affected children should take their feelings seriously and seek conversation. A structured and constant everyday life helps young people to orient themselves and prevent stress. Competence and self-confidence can be strengthened through praise and recognition. In addition, a physical balance in the form of sports offers in clubs can prevent stress.

The current study “Depressive moods among schoolchildren” was created as part of the DAK initiative “Developing a healthy school together”. The Leuphana University of Lüneburg accompanies and advises 30 schools nationwide that have applied for the three-year project. The health goals are set individually by each school. The basis is a comprehensive survey of pupils, teachers and parents on everyday school life and school climate. A total of 5,840 pupils from nine secondary, secondary and regional schools, three comprehensive schools, seven high schools and six vocational schools took part in the surveys in May 2008, May 2009 and May 2010. (sb, dak)

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Image: Gerd Altmann /

Author and source information

Video: I Am Depressed. Dianna Paige. TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool (November 2020).