UCLA program diagnoses depression early

November 28, 2011

Many parents often miss the signs of depression, sometimes because the issue isn’t with them – it’s with their kids.

Depression affects about 15% to 20% of children and teenagers by the age of 18, and about 121 million people worldwide. Despite the proliferation of the condition, many people suffering from it go untreated. However, depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated.

UCLA’s Youth Stress & Mood Program focuses on treatment and suicide prevention in children and adolescents. The program conducts research to better understand depression in children and teens and is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and agencies within the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Joan Asarnow is one of the pioneers in bringing evidence-based depression treatments into primary-care clinics in an effort to identify juvenile depression at an early stage. Clinical trials conducted by the program have shown that family-centered treatment may be beneficial for young children with depression and that integrating evidence-based depression treatment into primary case clinics leads to improvements in depression and quality of life. Findings have been featured on National Public Radio, as well as in numerous academic journals, radio and television programs and a range of magazines and online media outlets.

To learn more about depression and suicide prevention in children and teens, call the program coordinator at (310) 794-4941 or visit semel.ucla.edu/mood/youth-stress.

Scott Bridges | Fri, Aug 19 2011 11:01 AM