Adolescence is a time of key emotional development, and girls are three times more likely than boys to be diagnosed with depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends annual mental health screening for adolescents. Texas Health Steps requires mental health screening at all checkups birth through 20 years of age, and strongly encourages providers to complete mental health screenings for adolescents 12-18 years of age using one of the screening tools approved by Texas Health Steps.
Primary care clinicians can integrate adolescent mental health screening at all clinical encounters using a choice of multiple validated, standardized screening tools. Untreated anxiety and depression can cause impairments and distress to adolescents as well as the potential for lifelong problems. Primary care clinicians can help by screening for emotional and behavioral disorders, collaborating with parents, and treating or referring adolescents for appropriate care.
Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses for primary care providers and other health professionals. These courses offer updated clinical, regulatory, and best practice guidelines for a range of preventive health, oral health, mental health, and case management topics.