HealthDay News — Depression and suicide concerns increased among adolescents during the pandemic, especially among females, according to a study recently published online in Pediatrics.
Stephanie L. Mayne, Ph.D., from The Possibilities Project Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues compared the percent of primary care visits among adolescents aged 12 to 21 years with screening for depression, screening positive for depression, and screening positive for suicide risk between June and December 2019 and June and December 2020 (prepandemic versus pandemic periods).
The researchers found that during the pandemic period, there was a decrease in depression screening at primary care visits from 77.6 to 75.8 percent (prevalence ratio, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.06). An increase was seen in the percent of adolescents screening positive for depression, from 5.0 to 6.2 percent (prevalence ratio, 1.24; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.15 to 1.34); greater increases were seen among female, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White adolescents. There was an increase noted in positive suicide risk screens from 6.1 to 7.1 percent (prevalence ratio, 1.16; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 1.26), and female adolescents had a 34 percent increase in the odds of reporting recent suicidal thoughts (prevalence ratio, 1.34; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 1.52).
“Given these patterns, pediatricians are encouraged to consistently screen adolescents for depression and link identified adolescents to treatment,” the authors write.