Mt. Ararat High School health professionals have received the State of Maine Caring About Peoples’ Lives Award based upon their work with the Teen Screen Program offered by the School Based Health Center.
More than one million teens in the U.S. suffer from depression, yet less than one-third of those teens receive help. For some, depression is so severe that it leads to suicide, the third leading cause of teenage death. Even in its less severe forms, teen depression is linked to poor academic achievement, absenteeism, strained social relationships, and substance abuse. Screening for depression and other mental illnesses has been shown to be a safe and effective method of early identification of mental illness and youth suicide prevention. Research has shown that instituting systematic screening in a primary care practice using a standardized screening tool is well-received by patients, parents and providers. Doctors, nurses and local mental health professionals in clinics, hospitals and primary care settings are recognizing the importance of addressing youth mental health issues and are working together to develop screening initiatives in their communities.The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published a statement in March 2009 calling for depression screening for teens in primary care settings and recommending that all teens ages 12-18 be routinely screened for depression by their primary care providers. Mental health screening is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends routine mental health checkups for all adolescents and the Society of Adolescent Medicine, which supports early identification of mental illness as a critical standard of care.TeenScreen National Center offers free tools and materials to health care, educational and community-based professionals to screen for depression and mental illness in adolescents.