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Testing for depression in teens

Sharolyn Dihigo

Dr. Sharolyn Dihigo

Though an estimated five to 20 percent of adolescents suffer from depression, many never receive the treatment they need. Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Sharolyn Dihigo’s research shows that adding a simple paper test to teens’ well visits could help change those statistics.

Called a CES-DC, short for Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children, it asks 20 questions about the patient’s mental state over the previous week, giving health care providers a quick, reliable way to determine whether further mental health screenings or treatment are necessary.

Her research was published in Women’s Healthcare: A Clinical Journal for NPs, a new peer reviewed, online journal from the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health.

“Providing this test while a family waits for their appointment can overcome hesitation to talk about the feelings and behaviors linked to depression and lead to treatment success,” Dr. Dihigo says. “Getting teens treatment when they need it is essential and has potentially life-saving benefits.”