Approximately 3.1 million individuals in the United States aged 12–17 had a major depressive episode in 2016.

That equates to more than 1 in 8 adolescents. Of these, around 2.2 million experienced severe impairment during the episode.

Worryingly, only around half of adolescents with depression are diagnosed before adulthood.

To address this significant shortfall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have recently published updates to their medical guidelines on adolescent depression.

Frontline medical staff — such as pediatricians and primary care providers — are the best placed to spot mental health changes in teenagers. But according to the AAP, “In primary care (PC), as many as 2 in 3 youth[s] with depression are not identified by their PC clinicians and fail to receive any kind of care.”

A panel of experts — which includes the AAP, the Canadian Pediatric Society, and psychiatric associations from Canada and the U.S. — worked together to develop the new “Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care.” The team was steered by the latest relevant scientific evidence.

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