New two-part guidelines have been published online by the American Academy of Pediatrics in Pediatrics. The guidelines were developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and psychiatric associations from both countries.
Updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of depression in adolescents now endorse universal yearly screening from 12 years of age onward. The new guidelines suggest that for a teenager presenting with a mild depression, physicians should consider a period of “active support and monitoring” before initiating evidence-based treatment with medication and psychotherapy. Only if symptoms persist should treatment be initiated. Rachel Zuckerbrot, MD, lead author of the Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care, notes that “We know that more than 50% of cases of adolescent depression do not get identified, and even fewer get treated. Since pediatricians and primary care providers are at the front line, seeing these kids either for a well visit, school physicals, camp physicals, sports physicals, or just for common illnesses, they are in a really good position to identify depression as well as manage and treat it.”