Program History

Dr. Karen Swartz teaching ADAP to a group of adolescents

20 years of raising awareness, one classroom at a time

The ADAP program began in 1999 with two psychiatrists and one psychiatric nurse teaching a newly designed depression education curriculum to 530 students in eight schools. The first version of the Adolescent Depression Knowledge Questionnaire (ADKQ) was devised and administered to the students as a measure of their knowledge about depression before and after the curriculum. Over the ensuing twenty years, the program has grown significantly.

Students taught
Instructors trained
Schools involved
States participating
(+ Washington, D.C.)

ADAP program phases

September 1999

The first several years of the program focused on developing and testing the student curriculum. Key findings from this period shaped the current format of the curriculum. These included analyses that demonstrated that teaching the curriculum in multiple sessions versus one session led to greater improvement in knowledge as measured by ADKQ test scores. As well, data showed that students taught the full curriculum in a classroom compared to an assembly setting also had greater improvement in their ADKQ scores.

July 2005

After extensive revision and evaluation of the student curriculum, ADAP focused on increasing the number of students receiving the program materials. A central part of this effort included teaching the curriculum in a large public school district in Maryland. Through this work, ADAP finalized the student curriculum and the ADKQ as well as began developing and refining a training program intended to prepare psychiatric clinicians and nursing and medical students to teach the student curriculum.

April 2009

Insights from the development of this training informed ADAP’s next effort, to create a training program for school-based personnel. After piloting this training with a network of schools in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Delaware, ADAP began expanding outside the immediate region. To explore web-based training, ADAP developed a pilot training program which included the central features of the in-person training program.

December 2019

ADAP will identify collaborators, train health and school-based professionals, and facilitate the implementation of the student curriculum in schools across the country. Additionally, the program has begun conducting research to systematically evaluate the outcomes of the ADAP program and its impact on communities nationwide.

The Kids are NOT Alright

Dr. Karen Swartz presented at the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Grand Rounds on September 26, 2022 about the public mental health crisis among children and adolescents which has worsened during the COVID pandemic. She discussed the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) for high school students and the plan to develop a program focused on anxiety and depression for middle school students, ADAP Junior High.

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