Teenage Depression Treatments
Q: Under the guise of "screening for depression," a High School-based
clinic in Denver operates much like a drug dispensing outpost for
SSRI drug manufacturers at taxpayer expense. The Denver Post reports
that students who come in for a physical check up are "screened"
for depression by use of a suggestive questionnaire. The students
invariably leave the clinic with an antidepressant drug prescription:
A:"One benefit is that the program offers students one-stop shopping. They can be diagnosed and treated and, in some cases, even prescribed antidepressants without leaving school." These drug marketers are steering impressionable teenagers into a life of drug dependency: "we teach them about lifelong disease management and tell them, 'You might struggle with this the rest of your life." The should be kept out of schools--just as illicit drug pushers should. Where have the responsible school officials gone? She walked in looking for a physical. She walked out with a prescription for psychotherapy. The bright, engaging teenager didn't go to the clinic, run by Denver Health, at West High School because she felt depressed. She just wanted a checkup. Like every student who shows up looking for treatment at the clinic, the girl answered some survey questions about her eating and sleeping habits, how she was doing in school, how much stress she felt, whether she had ever been abused and how often she felt hopeless or sad. The questions are very personal. But there is good reason for asking them. Nearly one-third of the 27,964 visits to Denver Health's 11 school- based clinics during the 2002-03 school year were for mental-health treatment, according to clinic records. And most of those students suffered from depression, clinic staff say. So Denver Health began a program at West High - a program that is expanding to other high schools in the city - to aggressively track and treat depressed kids. Alison Parsons, a clinical psychologist who treats West High kids 16 hours a week, said the school has a registry of about 60 teens who have been identified with depression.