DEPRESSION AND KIDS
ANCHOR LEAD: DEPRESSION IN KIDS SHOULD BE SCREENED FOR BY PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Pediatricians should routinely screen all of their patients for depression, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated recently. That’s because when a problem is identified, effective treatments do exist. Mark Riddle, chair of child psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, says depression and other mental disorders are a huge public health problem.
RIDDLE: We know that most mental disorders, if left untreated, cause big difficulties for kids. Development and completion of tasks doesn’t happen as it should. It’s very difficult to keep up with school work, it’s very hard to be a competitive athlete if you’re depressed. We also know that untreated mental illness in youngsters increases mental illness later as adults, so its important for ongoing function, and it’s important for prevention of later problems to screen and treat early. :32
So if you suspect a problem, ask your pediatrician to screen. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.