Identifying, Addressing Teen Depression in Collaborative Primary Care

A new study published this week in JAMA suggests that pediatric primary care clinicians have great potential to improve the identification and treatment of adolescents with depression.

The researchers compared a collaborative care intervention to usual care for 101 teens who had screened positive for depression and were being treated in the Group Health system in Washington State. The intervention course of care focused on patient and parent engagement, and offered depression education and ongoing follow-up with a primary care clinic. Teens who received treatment as usual received their depression screening results and had the option to access mental health services. 

Intervention youth fared better than those who received usual care: The rate of depression remission at 12 months was 50.4 percent for the intervention group and 20.7 percent for the control group.

The results show promise for integrating evidence-based mental health services for teens into primary care.