On Monday, the revised two-part Guidelines for Adolescent Depression-Primary Care (GLAD-PC) were published in Pediatrics. The original guidelines were released in 2007. The guidelines reflect 10 years of additional research and evidence around what practices can do to prepare, identify and begin to manage teen depression (part I) and guidance around ongoing management (part II).
These guidelines are meant to help primary care providers ready their practices to offer yearly screening of teen mood as part of their annual check up. The guidelines also offer guidance on how to do so using ‘best practices’ based on what we know about available treatments with an emphasis on collaborating with mental health specialists in the community.
Adolescence is a time of rapid change, physically as well as emotionally and socially. We rely upon parents to continue to bring their teens to well child visits for their annual check ups. As children mature, pediatricians will want to begin to offer teens the opportunity to chat with them without a parent present. These split visits help teens learn how to begin to take on more of their own health care and build their own relationship with their doctor.
Related: Confidential Discussions Are Key to Improving Teen Health Visits (Center for Advancing Health)
It is important to give teens the space to begin to discuss things with their doctor because as they become young adults, they will be expected to do this on their own without a parent. This transition time can feel awkward at first for both the parent and teen, who were accustomed to seeing the pediatrician together. However, providing teens the ability to speak separately to their doctor is important as they may not otherwise talk about their health as openly if their parent was present.
Pediatricians will often set the tone by inviting the parent and teen to begin the visit together and share expectations that at some point the parent will be asked to step out of the room to provide the teen their own time with the doctor.
Parents’ input into their thoughts about how their teen is doing in school, how they are navigating friendships and social situations and overall health is still important. At this point, pediatricians are still very much wanting parents to remain involved. It is especially important for parents to be able to monitor for changes in their teen’s mood, sleeping or eating patterns or participation in social activities.
Know the signs of possible teen depression and when to seek help. Know how to also continue to promote wellness and health.
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RELATED: Adolescent Depression: What Parents Can Do To Help (HealthyChildren.org)
When to worry:
If your teen shuts down
Talks about wishing he/she were dead
Not caring about their appearance
Preferring to be alone
Changes in sleep or eating habits
Not doing well in school
Arguing or moody
Seeking out or showing interest in weapons, guns, pills or death
RELATED: Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms to Help Your Child (Helpguide.org)
If you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing, NEVER hesitate to get help.
Continue to acknowledge feelings and listen. Don’t try to offer quick fixes. Reach out to your child’s pediatrician/family physician for guidance. Check in with your child’s teacher about any changes or concerns they may have about your teen.
VIDEO: Pediatricians call for Universal Depression Screening for Teens (Fox59 news)
RELATED: PODCAST: So you think your kid is depressed: Here’s what to do (Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, Seattle Momma Doc)