Doctors to screen teens for signs of depression

Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 20:55:11-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif (KGTV) - New recommendations aim to help the thousands of teenagers living with depression who are suffering in silence. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for primary care doctors to screen young people. They say 2 out of 3 depressed teens are not being identified by their doctors and not getting the care they need. 

One survey doctors can give to patients is just two questions, another is nine. The purpose is not to establish a final diagnosis but rather screen for depression in a "first step" approach. 

San Diego Pediatrician Jaime Friedman believes it's a positive step to help young people and that it will be fairly easy to incorporate into visits. She will soon be using tablets on which parents and teens can answer questions related to their visit, they'll also be able to conduct the depression screening on them. 

Doctors are also being advised to talk to families about safety plans, removing lethal medications or guns from the home to prevent suicide. 

The AAP recommends young people get screened at least once a year starting at age 12.