Adolescent depression is a common mental health problem characterized by irritable or sad mood that causes significant problems at home, school, and in relationships.
Scope in Pediatrics
Adolescents with depression often experience irritability or sadness; changes in their energy, sleep, appetite, and concentration; social withdrawal; feeling of hopelessness; and suicidal thoughts
More than 1 out of 10 adolescents (11.3%) in the US suffer from depression
1 out of 6 US high school students have seriously considered suicide
Yet, only a minority of teens with depression receive adequate screening and treatment
Brief screening tools, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Item modified for teens, can be used to identify adolescents at risk for depression or suicide
Adolescents with depression +/- anxiety, but without suicidal intent, recent suicide attempt, a history of trauma, or a family history of bipolar can be treated in the primary care setting
Combination treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are most effective for moderate severity depression
Related AAP Policy
Related AAP Resources
Mental Health Initiatives: Depression
Promoting Optimal Development: Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Problems
Depression Coding Factsheet
Depression: Quality Improvement Resources & Tools
Mental Health Care of Children and Adolescents: A Guide for Primary Care Clinicians [Paperback]
Pediatric Collections: Depression and Suicide Prevention [Paperback]
AAP Resources for Families on HealthyChildren.org
Stop, Breathe, Think
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Resources
American Psychological Association
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Video: Identifying Depression and Suicide Risk in the iGeneration. Produced by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. April 2020.
Video: Treatment Approaches for Adolescent Depression. Produced by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. April 2020.
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The AAP gratefully acknowledges support for the Pediatric Mental Health Minute in the form of an educational grant from SOBI.