New guidelines take on teen depression | KOB 4

New guidelines take on teen depression

Erika Edwards, NBC News
February 26, 2018 02:55 PM

(NBC News) -- Just weeks after a 19-year-old opened fire in a Florida high school killing 17 people, an influential group of doctors has updated its guidelines for screening teenagers for depression.


The American Academy of Pediatrics now says all children over age 12 should undergo depression screening at regular wellness check-ups.

"So many teens don't have access to mental healthcare, it has to start with their pediatrician. And these changes really point in that direction," said psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein.

This is the first time in a decade the AAP has updated its guidelines for teen depression screening. 

As many as one in five people experience depression at some point during the teen years, but they often go undiagnosed and untreated.

It's typical for teenagers to be glum and irritable from time to time, experts say the key is to watch for significant changes in teen behavior and start a conversation.

"Anything that you notice that seems out of the ordinary, you can't be afraid to ask that teenager what's going on or if they're okay. I think that sometimes they're just looking for the validation of someone noticing that there's something different," Hartstein said.

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Erika Edwards, NBC News

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