U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
This topic page summarizes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on screening for depression in children and adolescents.
Summary of Recommendations / Supporting Documents
|This recommendation updates the USPSTF's 2002 recommendation on Screening for Depression with respect to children and adolescents. Go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsaddepr.htm to view the updated recommendation for adults.|
Summary of Recommendations
- The USPSTF recommends screening of adolescents (12-18 years of age) for major depressive disorder (MDD) when systems are in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal), and follow-up.
Grade: B recommendation.
- The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening of children (7-11 years of age).
Grade: I statement.
Supporting DocumentsScreening for Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents, March 2009
Recommendation Statement (PDF File, 180 KB; PDF Help)
Article (PDF File, 240 KB; PDF Help)
Evidence Synthesis (PDF File, 3 MB; PDF Help)
Clinical Summary (PDF File, 54 KB; PDF Help)
Current as of March 2009
Screening for Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents, Topic Page. March 2009. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspschdepr.htm
Treatment Works: Get Help for Depression and Anxiety
Many Americans suffer from mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studies show these health problems and illnesses affect about 1 in 5 Americans. A tough situation such as a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or financial distress can trigger or increase depression and anxiety.
Do You Know the Signs?Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience:
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
Effective Treatment ExistsPeople who suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many never seek treatment. New research suggests that racial minorities and people with less than a high school education may be less likely to be diagnosed for depression. It is often difficult for depressed or anxious people to believe that things can get better. Try not to let hopelessness or shame stop you or a friend from getting medical help. Take action.
Where to Find HelpIf you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.
- Call 911
- Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider's office
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor
- Depression Screening and Treatment Among Nonpregnant Women of Reproductive Age in the United States, 1990-2010
- Implementation of an Evidence-Based Depression Care Management Program (PEARLS): Perspectives From Staff and Former Clients
- CDC's Mental Health Work Group
- Depression, National Institute of Mental Health
- Depression Among Women of Reproductive Age and Postpartum Depression