New Mental Health Recommendation

If your list of resolutions this year includes getting all of your health checkups, vaccinations, and screenings…..you might want to add one more to the list. A new report is recommending that all U.S. adults be screened for depression when they visit the doctor.

The government task force report, recently released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests there is convincing evidence that screening adults over 18 for depression in primary care settings improves accurate diagnosis and treatment. The recommendation includes pregnant and postpartum women.

From the New York Times:

The recommendation, expected to galvanize many more health providers to provide screening, comes in the wake of new evidence that maternal mental illness is more common than previously thought; that many cases of what has been called postpartum depression actually start during pregnancy; and that left untreated, these mood disorders can be detrimental to the well-being of children.

It also follows growing efforts by states, medical organizations and health advocates to help women having these symptoms — an estimated one in seven postpartum mothers, some experts say.

This recommendation comes at a time when there is a tremendous amount of attention surrounding mental health issues. However, according to Scientific American, “some experts not on the panel expressed concerns about the recommendations.”

For example, the recommendations do not include “effective treatment and appropriate follow-up,” Dr. Charles F. Reynolds III and Ellen Frank, both psychiatry professors at the University of Pittsburgh, wrote in an editorial about the recommendations.

The recommendations do not put enough emphasis on major depression as a recurring, chronic condition for the majority of patients who have the condition, Reynolds and Frank wrote. [7 Ways to Recognize Depression in 20-Somethings]

Share your thoughts about the report and whether you believe it is important to come up with some type of preventive plan to help people who are battling depression. Making sure Arizonans have the resources they need to take care of both their physical and mental health is critical to our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

 

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