April 2016

Screening for Depression—A Tale of Two Questions

Author Affiliations
  • 1San Francisco VA Health Care System, San Francisco, California
  • 2Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):436-438. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.8493

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)1 has issued new recommendations on Screening for Depression in which they concluded, “The USPSTF recommends screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women. Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up (B recommendation).” Grade B indicates high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial. An “adequate system” includes a depression care manager who ensures that patients are screened and, if they screen positive for depression, appropriately diagnosed and treated with evidence-based stepped care or referred to a setting that can provide the necessary care. The new guidelines are similar to the 2002 and 2009 USPSTF depression screening recommendations except for 1 major change: neither the 2002 nor the 2009 recommendations mentioned pregnant or postpartum women.2,3

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