Saturday, August 15, 2009

National Academy Urges Changes in Screening and Treatment of Depression

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report urging a more coordinated approach to prevention and treatment of depression in parents—because of its impact on children—hit the streets just as Congress began considering legislation to reform the US health insurance system. The NAS report made a number of recommendations for changing the approach of both public and private health insurers toward depression, although the front-line troops expected to deal with the problem are primary care physicians, who already treat 70% of patients with depression.

According to the report, conventional screening does not consider the impact of a parent’s mental health status on the health and development of the children, nor have models that incorporate multiple interventions (eg, collaborative care) for adults been tested for their effectiveness in serving parents. “In short, parental depression is prevalent, but a comprehensive strategy to treat the depressed adults and to prevent problems in the children in their care is absent.”