Screening Questionnaires in Pediatrics

These screening questionnaires can be a good starting point if you suspect that your child is having problems with anything from anxiety and depression to OCD and PTSD.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is having many effects beyond kids getting sick with COVID-19…

“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can affect children and young people directly and indirectly. Beyond getting sick, many young people’s social, emotional, and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic. Trauma faced at this developmental stage can continue to affect them across their lifespan.”

COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit

How we find these kids with social, emotional, and mental issues shouldn’t be a secret either.

Screening Questionnaires in Pediatrics

Of course, not all kids are having problems right now.

Are yours?

“Here are some quick ideas for how to get conversations started with children and young people about how they are feeling and what they are struggling with regarding COVID-19. You don’t have to use these exact words—you know best how to speak with your child, adolescent or youth. In addition, how we talk to children and young people varies depending on their age and developmental level.”

COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit

In addition to using some of the conversation starters in the COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit from the CDC and seeing your health care provider for a check-up, these screening questionnaires and checklists might help you discover issues that your kids are having.

You can't ask your kids (whether you are a parent or a pediatrician) these types of screening questions if you don't know these screening questionnaires exist...
You can’t ask your kids (whether you are a parent or a pediatrician) these types of screening questions if you don’t know these screening questionnaires exist…

Screening questionnaires?

While these aren’t necessarily designed for parents to use to screen their kids on their own, there are a large number of questionnaires and screening tools that your health care provider can use to make sure your kids are safe and healthy, including:

At the very least, these types of pediatric screening questionnaires can be a good starting point if you suspect that your child is having problems.

More on Pediatric Screening Questionnaires and Checklists

Teen Depression Screening

It is recommended that pediatricians screen all teens for depression each and every year.

It is estimated that only about half of teens with depression get diagnosed and then, only about half of them get treated.

We should do better.

And we can, if we start routinely screening all teens for depression.

Teen Depression Screening

The idea of having pediatricians screen for depression isn’t new.

And it hasn’t always been just about screening kids for depression.

In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics began to recommend that pediatricians screen new mothers for postpartum depression using the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale or a simpler 2-question screen for depression.

“The primary care pediatrician, by virtue of having a longitudinal relationship with families, has a unique opportunity to identify maternal depression and help prevent untoward developmental and mental health outcomes for the infant and family.”

AAP on Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric Practice

Next, in 2014, the AAP began to recommend that adolescent depression screening begin routinely at 11 years of age. This recommendation was added to the 2015 Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care, a policy statement that was published by the AAP Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and the Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule Workgroup.

They also continued to recommend screening for maternal depression at 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-month visits.

A score of 3 or higher on the PHQ-2 could be a sign that your child is depressed.
A score of 3 or higher on the PHQ-2 could be a sign that someone is depressed and needs further evaluation.

The latest recommendation is that all “adolescent patients ages 12 years and older should be screened annually for depression (MDD or depressive disorders) with a formal self-report screening tool either on paper or electronically (universal screening).”

Other depression screening tools are also available, including the:

In addition to yearly depression screening, the latest guidelines also talk about the need to establish treatment plans and safety plans for teens who are depressed.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Depression

Let your kids know that there are hotlines to call if they ever need to talk to someone when they are feeling anxious or depressed.

Do you think your teen is depressed?

Have they been sad or angry on most days?

Does it seem like they don’t care about their usual activities anymore, aren’t sleeping well, are always tired, or have had a big change in their weight recently?

Are they doing poorly at school, seem extra sensitive to criticism, or have a lot of unexplained aches and pains?

Has your teen had thoughts of dying or suicide?

Call your pediatrician if you think that your teen is depression, or seek more immediate help if you think that your teen might hurt themselves.

Does your teen know how to TXT 4 HELP?
Does your teen know how to TXT 4 HELP?

Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of depression aren’t always easy to recognize in teens.

Hopefully, with universal depression screening, more teens will get diagnosed as early as possible.

What to Know About Depression Screening

It is recommended that pediatricians screen all teens for depression each and every year.

More on Depression Screening