An Upstate hospital has added a new screening test aimed at identifying potential signs of depression in children.
Bon Secours-St. Francis is following the new guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The group suggests children should be examined for signs of depression every year starting at the age of 12.
The simple test is meant to get ahead of the game with treatment so that they’re not dealing with a more severe disorder down the road.
Nurses at Bon Secours-St. Francis hospitals will now ask two depression screening questions.
If the results are positive a nine question screening is given that helps doctors determine a diagnosis.
Dr. Carson Felkel, Lead Physician for Behavioral Health Services says, “This is a significant change in one’s life that effects their functioning and their family. You know when tough things happen people can have a depressed mood. but a depressed mood is different from a depressive disorder.”
Dr. Felkel says the screening is one step. He says..66 percent of primary care patients who are referred to psychiatrists never get there because of the stigma attached to mental illness.