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Using the modern methods of diagnosing various physical and mental disorders is the indicator of the healthcare system’s skilled and responsible work. However, today, when a person processes large amounts of information daily and faces many social difficulties, depression is a common problem. The urgency of this issue among adolescents causes particular concern since the weak psyche of teenagers can induce them to rash actions and lead to sad consequences.
Depression screening for adolescents in primary care is an essential practice because correct and timely diagnosing can reduce the likelihood of developing other, more serious disorders. Different methodologies and techniques may be brought in, including both strengthening and intellectual base on this topic and stimulating the use of health insurances for covering the diagnostic process. Modern screening methods can be more substantially developed if adolescents are actively involved in interaction with psychologists and relevant tests are developed.
Evidence of the Problem
Helping adolescents suffering from depression and experiencing severe nervous worries has been and remains relevant social and medical tasks. According to Fallucco, Seago, Cuffe, Kraemer, and Wysocki (2015), “only 50% of cases are identified, and of the 2 million US adolescents diagnosed annually with depression, only a minority (38%) receive treatment” (p. 326). These statistics prove that insufficiently effective work on screening and assistance to teenagers is carried out, which affects the population health indicators negatively. Medical assistance to adolescents with psychological disorders that cause depression is not performed timely, and this deficiency is emphasized in academic literature.
Fallucco et al. (2015) argue that in order to achieve a high level of assistance, it is necessary to conduct educational interventions regularly, which is quite difficult to accomplish in the conditions of specialists’ permanent workload. Moreover, the authors question the effectiveness of some specialized therapies in primary care, which, in their opinion, are of a preventive nature and do not have the desired effect on the psyche of adolescents (Fallucco et al., 2015). As a result, there are no significant changes for the better, and the problem persists.
Similar ideas are traced in the scholarly works of other authors. Sekhar, Ba, Liu, and Kraschnewski (2019) remark that, in terms of primary care, adolescents from rural areas experience the greatest deficit of attention from medical specialists. It is due to the growing number of clinics in cities, a constant increase in jobs in large health facilities, and, as a result, the leakage of personnel. Statistical indicators are disappointing: Sekhar et al. (2019) note that the rate of adolescent depression “screening in 1.4% of primary care visits” is the poor outcome of the policy supporting young people (p. 206).
Accordingly, in the exhaustive majority of cases, disorders remain undiagnosed, which leads to the aggravation of the problem. The authors propose different ways of solving this issue – various methods of providing financial reimbursement for the extra time spent on screening, motivating employees through intangible benefits, and other similar options (Sekhar et al., 2019). Regardless of the measures taken, it is impossible to solve the problem within a short period, and hard work is required to create an appropriate intervention strategy and develop efficient screening tests.
Current Methods of Screening Depression
Although the problem of screening depressions among adolescents in primary care is acute enough, today, work is conducted in this direction. Modern guidelines are designed to help teenagers cope with their experiences and provide necessary psychological support. According to Morr (2018), there have been no major changes in policies aimed at helping adolescents since 2008; therefore, new techniques have been developed, and they imply new principles for the participation of medical professionals.
The author considers the updated model “of adolescent depression management in primary care, including the identification of at-risk youth, assessment and diagnosis, and initial management” (Morr, 2018, para. 5). Young people from 10 to 21 are involved in this program, and timely intervention can reduce the percentage of dangerous outcomes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) is the author of the previous guideline, and in the presented assistance program, additional interventions are specified. In particular, the pediatric association proposes to develop and implement educational methodologies aimed at improving the literacy of teenagers about the consequences of excessive concerns about various issues. In terms of primary care, the American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) states that counseling adolescents both at school and at home are a mandatory task. For this purpose, at-risk young people’s family members should be involved in order to provide necessary moral support to teenagers and stimulate their interest in life. This approach may be effective since many adolescents lack parental attention, which strengthens their depression.
Finally, the centralized method of screening and preventing the development of depressed moods in adolescents is also one of the contemporary techniques. Glatter (2018) considers annual examinations conducted by medical specialists and aimed at identifying the early symptoms of disorders in teenagers. A life period from 12 to 21 is regarded as the stage of growth when the tendency toward deviant behavior and the manifestation of psychological problems are most obvious.
Glatter (2018) argues that annual examinations, “as opposed to screening only when potential symptoms or behavior may arise, will help to place a focus on depression during these critical years of brain development” (para. 5). Thus, the centralized principle of intervention and assistance to adolescents with the problem in question may have value in primary care as an effective preventive mechanism stimulating timely help.
Pros and Cons of Healthcare Insurances to Cover Depression
Today, when the fight against adolescent depression is an urgent task in the world’s medical community, different ways of helping the target audience are promoted. One of the methods of influencing the problem and attracting the attention of citizens to solving this issue implies appeals to healthcare insurances as the measures that are aimed at covering teenagers’ disorders. Such a measure may have some advantages in the context of primary care.
Firstly, insured young people are guaranteed an opportunity to rely on the help of medical specialists, regardless of the severity of a depressive disorder. Secondly, private insurance is one of the conditions of the state program, which provides for expanding citizens’ access to healthcare services. Finally, those adolescents who have relevant policies are willing to interact with the medical staff because they realize that this right is reserved for them formally, and they agree to consult more readily.
Nevertheless, some negative features may occur even despite insurance. For instance, Sekhar et al. (2019) argue that adolescents from rural areas cannot rely on equal conditions of care because of the lower probability of screening the problem. Also, the authors note there is no preventive work “among high-risk populations, such as those with a family history of depression or other mental health,” which limits insurance possibilities (Sekhar et al., 2019, p. 206).
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Despite the obligatory plan of policymaking, the target population cannot count on the comprehensive support of healthcare in the context of limited opportunities for assistance. Therefore, effective work on depression screening among adolescents should include not only involving the potential patients in the insurance program but also real interventions aimed at preventing and identifying mental disorders among teenagers.
The improved mechanisms of involving teens in working with psychologists and developing appropriate guidelines can be the effective practices of screening depression among teenagers. Today, the results of vocational activities are satisfactory, which is proved by statistical reports. However, work is performed in this direction, and if enough efforts are applied, the situation may change for the better, and the target population with or without health insurance will receive support from specialists.
The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). American Academy of Pediatrics publishes teen depression guidelines that equip physicians to tackle mental health issues. Web.
Fallucco, E. M., Seago, R. D., Cuffe, S. P., Kraemer, D. F., & Wysocki, T. (2015). Primary care provider training in screening, assessment, and treatment of adolescent depression. Academic Pediatrics, 15(3), 326-332. Web.
Glatter, R. (2018). Is your teenager depressed? Important annual screening tool identified. Forbes. Web.
Morr, M. (2018). New guidelines issued for adolescent depression in primary care. Clinical Advisor. Web.
Sekhar, D. L., Ba, D. M., Liu, G., & Kraschnewski, J. L. (2019). Major depressive disorder screening remains low even among privately insured adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics, 204, 203-207. Web.