Is Your Teen Suffering From Depression?

Could a simple pencil and paper test diagnose depression in teens?

A few minutes spent filling out a widely accepted mental health assessment in a doctor’s waiting room could make a big difference for some teenagers suffering from depression.

Medical is reporting on the research conducted by Sharolyn Dihigo, an assistant professor at The University of Texas.

Dr. Dihago is also a nurse practitioner, and she wanted to find out whether nurse practitioners and others in primary care settings should add a mental health screening when a teenager comes in for a checkup.

She found that a simple paper test called a CES-DC would be a reliable, quick way of determining whether the practitioner should refer a teen for counseling.

Nationally, it’s estimated that five to 20 percent of adolescents suffer from depression, but many don’t receive the treatment they need.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teenagers be screened for mental health problems in primary care.

Dr. Dihago says “Getting teens treatment when they need it is essential and has potentially life-saving benefits.”

She points out that providing this test while a family waits for their appointment can overcome a teen’s hesitation to talk about feelings that are linked to depression.

The good news is that if the test detects depression, the physician or nurse practitioner can help the teen get the treatment that he or she needs

By the way, in case you’re wondering, “CES-DC” is short for Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children.  It’s free and doesn’t require extra training for the person who administers the screening.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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