NEWS

Call for Annual Depression Screening for Teenagers

Maurice Richmond
By Maurice Richmond, updated on Apr 17, 2018

Experts in America believe that all children aged 12 and above should be regularly screened for depression

The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed in a report published last month its wish for adolescents to get a mental health check-up every year, to screen for depression.

Experts believe that the initiative should be open to those aged 12 and above in the hope of reducing the time it takes to get help for conditions such as depression.

It comes as mental health charity Mind has revealed that 50% of mental health problems in adult life begin by the age of 14, and 75% by 18. Yet many teenagers fail to get diagnosed until adulthood.

Worryingly, the rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70% in the past 25 years.

Reacting to the news, children’s charity the NSPCC told The Guardian that it was now up to the government to improve access to mental health services.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Screening for mental health conditions could help normalise conversations about depression, but must be accompanied by easy access to support services.

“The government must build on the proposals in its recent green paper to ensure all children who need it can access high-quality and timely mental health support.”

A consultation process on adolescent mental health by the UK government has ended, with a new blueprint that includes giving mental health awareness training to school staff.

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