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August 27, 2014

A Practical and Effective Primary Care Intervention for Treating Adolescent Depression

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
  • 2Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2014;312(8):797-798. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9258

Adolescent depression is a major pediatric public health concern. Approximately 11% of US adolescents experience an episode of depression by age 18 years.1 The World Health Organization ranks unipolar depression as the leading cause of “illness and disability” for 10- to 19-year-old youth worldwide, above common physical health problems like anemia and asthma.2 The effects of depression on overall health are widespread and pervasive because of 3 principal concerns: depression is associated with serious mental health problems (eg, suicidality),3 physical health problems (eg, obesity),4 and adolescent high-risk behaviors (eg, substance use).5 Yet best available data indicate that approximately 40% of adolescent depression goes untreated.6