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Pediatricians Urge for Universal Screening of Teen Depression

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged to set up new guidelines on Monday for a universal screening for teen depression. The guidelines were published in the journal "Pediatrics" in 2007 after it came to light that children and teens do not have requisite access to the mental health professionals and they are not receiving proper treatment for mental health issues especially the widespread depression.

Here is a shocking fact from the guideline: only 50% of the adolescents who suffer from depression get proper diagnosis before they reach adulthood. 2 in 3 teens suffering from depression are not properly identified by their Primary Care clinicians. Even if they are diagnosed, half of them are not treated as they should have. After 10 years, AAP guidelines are updated as a lot of Primary Care pediatricians said that their practice did not have the scope to treat teen depression. The update also includes compulsory screening of all those who are 12 and above for depression. The screening would be done by a self- reporting form and not by doctor's screening questions. The co-author of the guidelines Rachel A. Zuckerbrot thinks that the form makes more sense because most youth will not open up directly to the doctor. The estimates by National Institute of Mental Health suggests that around 3.1 million teenagers between 12-17 experience at least one major depressive episode. These episodes are more prevalent in teenage girls.

By: Neha Maheshwari


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