Recent guidelines affirm teens should be screened for depression, as a preventive measure. The guidelines, backed by the goverment sponsored U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are meant to minimize risks of later addiction, self injury, and behavioral issues.
“From a parent’s perspective, I think it’s important for them to know that depression can be relatively common in adolescence and we have ways to treat it,” said Dr. Alex Krist, a member of USPSTF and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Approximately 8 percent of adolescents in the United States experience major depression annually. There is less known about the frequency of the condition among younger children
When children and teens have depression, they usually experience problems at home, work, and school. Early depression is linked to increased risk of recurrence in adulthood, self harm, and mental disorders.
“I think what we want clinicians to hear is that there is pretty good evidence that routine screening in adolescents for depression and making sure they get the appropriate follow-up improves outcomes,” Krist said.