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Teens and Mental Health

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Teens and Mental Health: The New American Academy of Pediatrics Report

teens and mental health

Did you know, as many as one in every five teens experience depression at some point during adolescence? Unfortunately, these teens often go undiagnosed and untreated, sometimes because of a lack of access to mental health specialists.


Pediatricians and other primary care providers (doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, etc.) are often in the best position to identify and help struggling teens.


Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published updated medical guidelines on adolescent depression. This is a two part guideline was published last month. This is the first update to the guidelines in 10 years, serving as a tool for physicians and offering recommendations for the patient and family members’ participation. This important document can be found at the following links:


The guidelines are targeted for youth ages 10 to 21, and distinguish the differences between mild, moderate and severe forms of Major Depressive Disorder. The guidelines for the first time also endorse a universal adolescent depression screening for children age 12 and over, which already is recommended by the AAP.


According to the AAP and this guidelines document, recommendations include:

  • Providing a treatment team that includes the patient, family and access to mental health expertise
  • Offering education and screening tools to identify, assess and diagnose patients
  • Counseling on depression and options for management of the disorder
  • Developing a treatment plan with specific goals in functioning in the home, peer and school settings.
  • Developing a safety plan, as needed, which includes restricting lethal means, such as firearms in the home, and providing emergency communication methods.


Why this information is important to you.
If you have an adolescent or teen, it’s extremely important that you have a mental health and depression screening. Mental health is extremely important and one screening could save a life. Talk to your doctor about how to make sure your child has their screening.

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