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Could teens be screened for mental health illnesses

Mon, 11 Apr 2016

Depression in young people can be a debilitating and life changing experience. Teenagers, battling with growing up and taking on responsibilities, trying to find their place in the world, are very susceptible to mental health illnesses.

A recent report in the US has found that 11.4 per cent of adolescents in the country suffer with at least one major depressive episode per year. It is highly likely that a similar figure would be seen here in the UK.

The state of mental health care in this country has come under fire over the last few years, with a lack of beds and facilities to treat people, and huge waiting lists for those who need treatment.

Simply screening people at that age, in order to ensure that people don't slip through the net would still not be enough. Screening each adolescent student in the country would likely lead to over-diagnosis and even put more pressure on those with an issue, possibly making them worse and causing them to hide their issues.

Funding for mental health treatment in an already thinly stretched NHS would help to free up mental health beds, a wider acceptance of mental health problems to reduce the stigma, and help people who are in need to come forward would go a long way to help the those suffering with the 'invisible illness'.
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