The Back-to-School Check-up You're Missing: Has Your Teen Been Screened?

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Depression Screening Now Recommended for All Teens, Not Just Those Who Appear at Risk

With back-to-school check-ups in full swing, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) encourages parents to include depression screening as part of their teen's back-to-school doctor's appointment.

CAMFT's recommendation follows that of a government-appointed medical task force, which earlier this year changed its stance and now recommends that doctors regularly screen all teens for depression, not just those who appear at risk. More than two million teens are affected by depression, or one out of 20. Six percent of U.S. teens are clinically depressed, and most go untreated and undiagnosed.

Signs of depression can include significant changes in eating or sleeping habits, chronic irritability or anger, withdrawal from family and friends, changes in grades or school attendance, lack of interest or substance abuse. For parents, these signs can often be confusing and misinterpreted for "normal" teen angst.

Teen depression has been linked to lower grades, drug use, early pregnancy and even suicide. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15-to-24 and the sixth-leading cause of death among those ages 5-to-14.

Talk therapy with a licensed marriage and family therapist or other mental health professional is a proven, effective treatment for depression. For other depression warning signs or to find a California-based marriage and family therapist in your area, visit

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) is a professional organization representing the state's leading licensed marriage and family therapists. CAMFT provides as a resource for individuals looking for marriage and family therapists located in California. Marriage and family therapists treat a comprehensive range of issues including depression, anxiety, phobias/fears, elder and child issues, relationship issues, post-traumatic stress, and severe mental illness. For more information, visit or


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Tricia Whittemore
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