NewsArizona News


American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening teens for depression

Posted at 7:12 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-03 01:02:55-05

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended all young people over the age of 12 get screened for depression, possibly as part of their regular check-ups.

The group of doctors estimates only 50% of young people who are depressed get diagnosed.

Doctor Gina Montion is a pediatrician at Banner Health Center Greenway. Banner already requires doctors to screen their young patients for depression no matter if it's a wellness check or during a visit for the common cold.

"I've experienced the benefits first hand," said Montion. 

Patients are asked two simple questions: if they're feeling down and are they able to have fun. If any of those answers indicate a red flag, a serious of other questions follow.

Doctor Montion has had to intervene several times. She remembers one recent case.

"I took him aside and then further teased it out he broke down in tears right away," said Montion. "A happy kid. You just might not know from the surface."

Shelia Hedstrom-Pelger lost her son Tyler just eight months ago after he took his own life. Shelia says Tyler, who was just 17 years-old, was never screened because he rarely went to the doctor. She says Tyler never showed signs of depression, but she knows those few questions might have been enough to get her son help.

"If all it is - is one simple doctor's appointment once a year, oh my gosh," said Shelia. "What if it would save one out of ten of those kids that went to the doctor?"