Does screening adolescents for depression improve health outcomes?

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Abstract

EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER

No evidence supports a direct relationship between screening adolescents (aged 12–18 years) for depression and improved health outcomes. However, using a depression screening tool such as the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) in a school-based or primary care clinic can accurately identify adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) (SOR: B, systematic review of diagnostic cohort studies with unclear reference standards). Additionally, treatment of MDD with fluoxetine with or without cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or in a collaborative care model can effectively improve depressive symptoms (SOR: A, systematic review of RCTs). Screening adolescents for depression is recommended in the setting of effective systems for treatment and follow-up (SOR: C, expert opinion).

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