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March 2016

US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement on Screening for Depression in Adults: Not Good Enough

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 2Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(3):189-190. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.3281

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women, with the use of brief, self-report instruments like the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 that typically take less than 5 minutes to complete. It further underscores the need for screening to be linked with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up. The recommendation is silent, however, with respect to the ideal screening interval and the settings with highest potential yield. These are major shortcomings in our opinion.

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