Pediatricians recommend all teens be screened for suicide risk

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all teens 12 years of age and older be screened for depression and suicide risk in accordance with their updated preventive care schedule posted online this week.

Screening for risk of suicide has been added to existing recommendations for screening for depression in line with the AAP guidelines. Recommendations for teen depression in Primary Care, which were released in 2018.

In its 2018 guidelines, the AAP recommended annual screening for depression for everyone aged 12 to 21, citing reports that about 50% of teens with depression are diagnosed before they reach adulthood, and up to two out of three teens with depression receive no treatment. help. or care.

The AAP health screening recommended by the AAP encourages health care providers to assess risk through a set of questions.

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A depressed little boy is sitting by the window wearing a mask.

A depressed little boy is sitting by the window wearing a mask.
(iStock)

“Often these are nine different questions that are asked about depressive symptoms “And very often at the end of this set of questions, the child is asked about suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting themselves, thoughts that they might rather be dead or alive, thoughts that they might be struggling a little,” said the doctor. . , Nathan Copeland, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Duke Health, according to CBS 17.

Physicians are then strongly encouraged to discuss mental health resources if they identify a problem.

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“This is something kids have been struggling with for a very long time, and if we can come out of this as a community with more opportunities to support each other, if we can come out of this more able to involve and support children, I think there is great hope,” Copeland said.

Photo of a depressed young man with his head down.

Photo of a depressed young man with his head down.
(Tetra images via Getty Images)

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Post-pandemic rates of depression and anxiety among teens and children have continued to skyrocket. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention According to a survey released on April 1, 44% of teens felt hopeless or constantly sad in the first few months of 2021, and 55% said they were emotionally abused at home.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivers a speech during a press conference at the White House on July 15, 2021.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy delivers a speech during a press conference at the White House on July 15, 2021.
(REUTERS/Tom Brenner)

“Mental health problems in children, adolescents and young adults are real and widespread. Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression and suicidal thoughts, and the number has increased over the past decade. “U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said last December in advisory.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has further changed their lives at home, at school and in the community, and the impact on their mental health has been devastating. The future well-being of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation,” he added.