Pediatricians recommend all adolescents be screened for suicide risk

Pediatricians recommend all adolescents be screened for suicide risk

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening for depression and suicide risk for all teens 12 and older, according to its updated Preventive Care Schedule posted online this week.

Suicide risk assessment was added to the existing depression screening recommendation according to the AAP Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care, which were published in 2018.

In the 2018 guidelines, the AAP recommended annual screening for depression for anyone between the ages of 12 and 21, citing reports that approximately 50% of adolescents with depression are diagnosed before reaching adulthood and as many as two out of three depressed teens go undiagnosed. help or care

The AAP-recommended AAP Health Screening encourages healthcare providers to assess risk with a series of questions.

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Depressed boy sitting by the window wearing a mask.
(iStock)

“It’s often nine different questions that are about depressive symptoms, and very often at the end of that set of questions, a child is asked about suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, thoughts that they’d rather be alive. or dead, thoughts that may be struggling a bit,” said Dr. Nathan Copeland, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Duke Health, according to CBS 17.

Clinicians are then encouraged to discuss mental health resources if they identify a concern.

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“It’s something that kids have been struggling with for a long time and if we can come out of this as a community, being more able to support each other, if we can come out of this being better able to engage kids and support kids I think there’s a lot of hope there,” Copeland said.

A stock image of a depressed young man with his head down.

A stock image of a depressed young man with his head down.
(Tetra Images via Getty Images)

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Since the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety have continued to skyrocket among teens and children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 44% of teens felt hopeless or persistently sad in the first few months of 2021 and 55% said they experienced emotional abuse at home, according to a survey published on March 1. april.

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

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

“Mental health challenges 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 rates have increased over the past decade, “US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in an advisory last December.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has further altered their experiences at home, school and community, and the effect 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 she.

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