Teen Depression Screening

Teens outside

Colorado is among the states with the highest rates of teen depression and has one of the highest rates of teen suicide. Teens on Medicaid are at highest risk. There is evidence showing that early recognition and treatment is more effective, resulting in lower cost and better outcomes. The cost to the health care system: The costs include psychiatric hospital admissions, emergency visits, total mental health costs, poor school attendance for the teen and work absences for parents. Long term effects include higher adult mental health care costs and unemployment costs as the teen grows into adulthood.

Brochure For Teens: Depression

This recently updated brochure [pdf] from the National Institute of Mental Health is written for teens who may be depressed. It includes signs and symptoms, ways to feel better, asking for help, effect on relationships, and being good to yourself.

Screening Questionnaires For Teen Depression And Early Referral

There is evidence showing that screening with standardized, validated questionnaires at regular visits lead to early recognition and treatment, which is more effective than waiting for more severe symptoms to be apparent. Currently Colorado Medicaid reimburses medical homes for depression screening in children and adolescents from 11 years old up to and through adulthood.

The Patient Health Questionnaire Modified for Teens (PHQ-9 Modified) is a well-accepted, standardized, validated questionnaire, used by many providers and health plans across the country. It can be used with patients between the ages of 11 and 20 and takes less than five minutes for them to complete. The PHQ-9 Modified can be administered and scored by a nurse, medical assistant, physician assistant, physician or other office staff. Teens are more likely to truthfully answer questions about depression on a questionnaire than when asked the same question by a provider.

The PHQ-9 Modified was developed by the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia and is available for free. The documents below are available to assist you with implementation of the screening tool:

CCHAP Can Help You:

  • Select methods to improve efficiency of providing teen depression screening
  • Obtain maximum reimbursement for depression screening
  • Help you set up a Quality Improvement process to ensure all appropriate teens are receiving screening

Contact us to learn more about CCHAP’s services.