Understanding the new guidelines to diagnosing depression

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their “Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care.” This is the first update of the 2009 document crafted by the AAP and the Canadian Pediatric Society along with psychiatric associations from both countries.

These guidelines recognize that pediatricians and other primary care providers are often in the best position to identify and help struggling teens. For this reason, AAP updated the report to better equip pediatricians like Suburban Pediatric Associates to take care of your teens.

Within the past decade, there’s been a change in the relationship between medicine and mental health. Today, there’s a push toward delivering interventions as a team rather than using the traditional model of autonomous individual providers. According to the guidelines, “this followed a growing recognition that complex chronic conditions, such as depression, are more successfully managed with proactive, multidisciplinary patient-centered care teams.”

Summary of depression recommendations

As a member of your team, we want to share these new recommendations with our families at Suburban Pediatrics. Together, we can create the best support team for your child.

The AAP’s recommendations include:

  • Providing a treatment team that includes the patient, family and access to mental health expertise
  • Offering education and screening tools to identify, assess and diagnose patients
  • Counseling on depression and options for management of the disorder
  • Developing a treatment plan with specific goals for functioning in the home, with friends and at school

While the guidelines suggest ways to involve family members in a teen’s mental health treatment, they also recommend that the pediatrician spend time alone with your child. Suburban Pediatrics providers screen for suicide, depression and mental health issues at well checks beginning at age 13.

What a screening looks like

To make an accurate diagnosis, our providers will use a series of standard questions to screen for depression relating to a teen’s daily moods, behaviors and lifestyle habits. This won’t feel anything out of the ordinary for your child. It will be just a conversation with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner.

“Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you have any concerns about mental health issues. We’re here to listen and provide the highest level of concern and care that your family deserves.” – Dr. Ronna Schneider

For more information

At Suburban Pediatrics, we’re here for you and your family every step of the way. Check out our additional website Resources and follow us on Facebook.