Will young people be adequately screened for depression and anxiety? Elizabeth Tracey reports


 The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended screening US youth for anxiety and depression. Karen Swartz, an expert in these illnesses in young people, says screening isn’t just a matter of asking a few questions.

Swartz: What I worry about with screening is they’ll do, usually you have a couple of questions and if you’re positive what should happen is there is a proper evaluation, someone really takes time to ask about the symptoms in enough detail to differentiate I’m stressed versus I have a real anxiety disorder. Or a serious problem with anxiety, or I’m disappointed or demoralized or frustrated versus I have the kind of depression that’s a medical illness. Previous studies have shown that there are a number of false positives with these screens.  :33

Swartz says screening merely raises the suspicion that a problem might exist, and this must be confirmed with a much more thorough evaluation by someone with expertise in this area. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.