Only about 50 percent of adolescents with depression get diagnosed before reaching adulthood. And as many as 2 in 3 depressed teens don’t get the care that could help them.
“It’s a huge problem,” says Dr. Rachel Zuckerbrot, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and associate professor at Columbia University.
To address this divide, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued updated guidelines this week that call for universal screening for depression.
“What we’re endorsing is that everyone, 12 and up, be screened … at least once a year,” Zuckerbrot says. The screening, she says, could be done during a well-visit, a sports’ physical or during another office visit.
Zuckerbrot helped write the guidelines, which have been in development for a while. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also recommends depression screening, and many pediatricians have already woven the screenings into their practices.