According to the updated American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, all teens 12 years and older should be screened for depression each year during their annual visit. Two out of three teens with depression are not diagnosed by their primary care providers, and only 50% of adolescents are diagnosed by the time they reach adulthood.
“You can’t just look at a child and tell that they’re depressed; that’s why we need screenings” says Dr. Nerissa Bauer, an associate professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. Undetected depression in children can lead to difficulties in school and increases the risk of suicide.
The screening process involves a questionnaire about symptoms given to both the teen and their parents to be filled out separately. A doctor will then review the responses and from there further the discussion on depression, if necessary.