Pediatricians call for annual depression screening for all teens
Half of America’s depressed teens are reaching adulthood without being diagnosed. The American Association of Pediatrics has released new guidelines urging annual depression evaluations for ALL teens.
Only half of depressed youth are diagnosed before they reach adulthood, making the problem and treatment that much harder. In response, in February, the American Academy of Pediatrics call for annual, universal depression screening for all youth over the ages of 12, NPR (National Public Radio) reported.
The screening, Dr. Rachel Zuckerbrot told NPR, could be done during a well-patient visit, a sports’ physical or during another office visit. It could also be a questionnaire.
“Teenagers are often more honest when they’re not looking somebody in the face who’s asking questions,” she said. Zuckerbrot helped write the new guidelines.
The suggested questionnaires contain a range of questions. For instance, ‘Over the past two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems: feeling down, depressed or hopeless? Or, little interest or pleasure in doing things?’
The new recommendations also call for families with a depressed teen to restrict the young person’s access to lethal means of harm.