The transition from elementary school to high school can be stressful. Like other major life changes, it can put children at greater risk for depression, anxiety and other psychiatric illnesses.

The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Lab in the University of British Columbia’s psychology department is conducting research to identify which kids are most at risk, and why.

From a news report the motivation for the study relates to the mental health issues of students.

“By the end of the first year of high school, about 11.5 per cent of kids will have experienced a depressive episode. By the end of high school, almost 40 per cent of kids will have struggled with a psychiatric illness. And meeting criteria for a psychiatric disorder in high school means you are three times more likely to experience a disorder later in life, so we know it’s a huge issue that can arise during that transition. What we don’t know is, who will be part of that 11.5 per cent? Or that 40 per cent? We are working to identify factors that affect mental health during this transition so we can develop early intervention and prevention strategies to help kids and parents.” Ellen Jopling, master’s candidate in clinical psychology

UBC Psychology research explores why transition to high school puts some kids at risk of mental illness