Friday, October 9, 2020

Most Parents Support Depression Screening in Middle School

Most parents support school-based depression screening starting in middle school, a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests.

Deepa L. Sekhar, M.D., M.Sc., of Penn State College of Medicine and colleagues analyzed the responses of 770 parents who participated in the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, a cross-sectional Internet-based survey about child health topics. The parents all had children in either middle or high school.

When asked whether their children’s school should screen all students for depression, 70.5% said either “definitely yes” or “probably yes,” and the remaining 29.5% said “probably no” or “definitely no.” Nearly 47% said screenings should begin in sixth grade, and just over 15% said screenings should begin in seventh grade. The researchers wrote that these responses suggest a “desire for further support in recognizing adolescent depression and the need for additional services that begin in the middle school years.” They also noted that the majority preference for beginning screening in middle school is consistent with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for screening for depression in children and adolescents.

More than 93% of parents said that a child’s parents should be informed if the child has signs of depression, and about 3% felt the child should decide whether the parents are informed. However, more than 47% of parents did not know whether their children’s school currently provides mental health services for students.

“This suggests a lack in parent understanding of how schools will handle screening results and the availability of mental health resources, or perhaps highlights parent expectation to directly manage results,” the researchers wrote.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “New Primary Care Guidelines Recommend Routine Screening for Depression in Adolescents.”

How Does Racism Impact Your Practice? APA Task Force Wants to Know

The APA Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry is fielding a new short survey on the impacts of racism on psychiatric practice. Help the Task Force inform its important work and share your thoughts by October 23. Learn more about the Task Force and view the results of its previous two surveys on the Task Force webpage.



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