Pediatricians recommend that all teens be screened for suicide risk

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending screening for depression and suicide risk for all teens 12 years of age and older, according to their updated preventative care program published online this week.

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

In its 2018 guidelines, the AAP recommended annual depression screening for anyone between the ages of 12 and 21, citing reports that about 50 percent of depressed teens are diagnosed before they reach age adult and up to two out of three depressed adolescents have no help or care.

The AAP health screening recommended by the AAP urges health care professionals to assess risk with a series of questions.

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

“There are often nine different questions that are asked about depressive symptoms and very frequently at the end of that series of questions, a child is asked about suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm, thoughts that they prefer to be dead or alive, thoughts that they might have a bit of a hard time, “said Dr. Nathan Copeland Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Duke Health, according to CBS 17.

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

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“It’s something children have struggled with for a long time and if we can get out of it as a community, being more able to support each other, if we can get out of it by being more able to engage children and support them, 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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After the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety continued to skyrocket among teens and children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 44 percent of teens felt hopeless or persistently sad in early 2021, and 55 percent said they experienced emotional abuse at home, according to a survey released April 1.

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

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

“The 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 ten. years, United States surgeon general Vivek Murthy said last December in a notice.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has further altered their experiences at home, at school and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating. Our country’s future well-being depends on how we support and invest in the next generation.” , He added.

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