WHY A STUDY ON ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION?
Utah schools are striving to provide students with the mental health supports that they need to thrive, but a lack of resources and an incomplete understanding of the challenges that students face can make it difficult to meet those needs. Each year, the Utah State Legislature, Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Utah State Board of Education, and other state agencies ratchet up awareness, funding, and the determination to support mental health initiatives, and yet each year adolescent mental health in Utah becomes more precarious. The purpose of this study is to change the conversation—to explore, through critical narrative ethnography, how a school might better support adolescent mental health by addressing school climate, curriculum, and sociocultural factors that we might not currently be considering or talking about. We cannot understand what is needed until we have a better understanding of the lived experience of students. To reach that understanding, we must include student voices in the conversation.