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Study Purpose

The purpose of this study is to try to better understand how high school students in Utah experience depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, and/or suicidal ideation. It will explore, from the student perspective, how a school’s climate, culture, programs and curriculum might impact student mental health, and how the adults at school can do a better job of supporting adolescent mental health.


 If you decide to participate, your child will be asked to participate in one or more informal interviews with a researcher about their experience with or general impressions about adolescent depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, and/or suicidal thoughts.  The researcher will use a set of questions as a springboard for discussion, but they are mostly interested in hearing about your child's experience with depression, anxiety, and/or hopelessness. Your child’s participation in an initial interview is anticipated to last between 40 and 60 minutes. The researcher may invite your child to continue with the study after the initial interview, and to meet for one or two additional 40 to 60 minute conversations.


As a part of this study, your child will also be invited to to share any creative work that they have produced (such as poetry, artwork, original music, essays, photography, film, etc.) that addresses the subject of adolescent depression, anxiety, isolation, feelings of hopelessness, and/or suicidal ideation. Nothing that your child has written or created will be used in this study without your and your child’s explicit consent. 


We anticipate that between 12 and 40 students will participate in this research study. Participation is completely voluntary.



This study presents minimal risk to your child, meaning that the risks might be minimally higher than those your child encounters in everyday activities. The foreseeable risks include potential discomfort during the interview process, possible feelings of anxiety or depression triggered by talking about past experiences, or a risk of loss of confidentiality.


To minimize these risks and discomforts, the researchers will follow professional and ethical guidelines of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). They will also be guided by the American Psychological Association (APA) Code of Conduct throughout the study to ensure that conversations are supportive, non-threatening, and non-coercive, and that privacy and confidentiality are maximally protected.  The researchers are not mental health professional, but they will follow these professional and ethical guidelines to ensure that participants are always treated with respect and dignity and that their needs are recognized and addressed.


During each interview, the researcher will check in with the participant frequently to be sure that they are comfortable continuing with the interview. She will encourage your child to ask for clarification when needed, and will encourage them to end the conversation if they are uncomfortable in any way. Participants will never be required to answer a question they are not comfortable answering. For the duration of this study, your child will have access to additional support from the school’s social worker, high school counselor, or any school administrator upon request. No one but the researchers will know who is participating in this study, but the school’s administration and counselors are aware of the study and are happy to meet with you or your child if the need arises. You can also request a referral to a local mental health professional if you would like support outside of the school. These services are available to your child, whether or not you feel that any discomfort or trauma they may be feeling is the result of this study.


If, at any time, you feel that you have a bad research-related experience or that your student is harmed in any way during their participation, please contact the principal investigator of this study right away at 801-518-3193 or



We hope that participation in this study will be a meaningful and affirming experience for student participants. The primary benefit may be the experience your child has as they learn to recognize and express their thoughts about their own mental health needs. More tangible benefits are listed below: 

  • Access to this website for information, contact numbers, addresses, and web addresses of local, state, and national mental health resources, including suicide prevention organizations, crisis hotlines, county and city mental health organizations, various mental health websites, and a wide variety of online resources.

  • All student participants will be invited to meet with the school’s social worker, counselor, and or administrators upon request and will be guided to professional resources outside the school as requested.

  • The student researcher will be available throughout the study to answer questions and to provide any support that she can legally and ethically provide.



Researchers will make every effort to ensure that the information your child provides as part of this study remains confidential. Your child’s identity and the identity of the school will not be revealed in any publications, presentations, or reports resulting from this research study. Although it is unlikely, it may be possible for someone to recognize your child’s particular story/situation/response. Before any responses are included in this study, your child will be invited to review what is written and to revise or withdraw any information they choose not to include in the study. Every effort will be made to conceal identity by using pseudonyms, altering details of narratives and, if necessary, creating composite characters in the narrative so that no individual child’s story is identifiable.


The researcher will collect your child’s responses during interviews using typewritten notes and with the aid of digital audio recordings to ensure accuracy. This data will be securely stored in a restricted-access folder on, an encrypted, cloud-based storage system and in a locked drawer in a restricted-access office. Recorded data will be destroyed as soon as recordings are transcribed. All other data and study materials will be destroyed upon completion and publication of this study, estimated to be December 30th, 2018, but no later than December 30th, 2019. This form will be kept for three after the study is complete, and then it will be destroyed.


Voluntary Participation & Withdrawal

Your participation in this research is completely voluntary. If you agree to participate now and change your mind later, you may withdraw at any time by contacting Dr. Steven Camicia either by phone (801-518-3193), or email (, or Diana West, either by phone (801-623-1388), or by email ( If you choose to withdraw after we have already collected information from your child, your child’s data will be destroyed immediately. If you decide not to participate, the education and support your child receives from Walden School of Liberal Arts will not be affected in any way. The researchers may choose to terminate your  child’s participation in this research study if they determine, under the guidance of a mental health professional, that this study may become harmful to your child in any way. This will only happen in consultation with you via email or telephone.  

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