Monday, March 30, 2009

Testing for Depression

Experts are now recommending that teenagers be routinely tested for depression. I think this is an excellent idea. Those of you with teenagers might know why. When your kids become teens, they stop telling you everything. Even the good-natured, non-confrontational ones. So sometimes it's hard to tell when something is really bothering them. They may be able to put on a good front for you, but inside are agonizing about a friendship gone wrong or being bullied or doing poorly in school. It's quite disconcerting as a parent to just. not. know. I know I've been one of those parents who, while sympathizing with someone's loss of a child to suicide, have also wondered how they didn't see it coming. Well, sometimes it's easy to not see it coming. Although we've been lucky to not have to deal with these kinds of mental health issues, I do like the idea that when my kids go for a physical, they might also get screened for their mental health as well. Consdering that many kids' physical health is affected by mental health through substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm practices, or suicide, it makes sense to check on mental health at the same time as physical health.