Julie Fidler – Fed Advisory Group Urges Doctors to Screen Teens for Depression

A federal advisory group said Monday that doctors should screen teens for depression, but the number of students that benefit from the directive might be relatively small.

Physicians are only supposed to screen adolescents if they have access to mental health professionals who can diagnose and treat them, and monitor their progress. That could be difficult to do, considering it’s difficult to find quality mental health services for adults, and even harder for teenagers. [1]

 Mental health programs in the U.S. have lost billions in funding in recent years, according to National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. About 36% to 40% of teens with depression receive treatment for the disease, and that often only occurs after a serious breakdown or an arrest. On average, young depressed patients wait 7 years between the time they develop symptoms and when they finally receive treatment