The Benefit of Assessing for Teen Depression

Most men and women today have a different perspective on physical health than they do mental health. For most people, physical health is well cared for through exercise, healthy food, and regularly visiting the doctor. For example, we might visit the doctor for check-ups, even when there’s nothing wrong. Or we might make an appointment with the doctor for a physical when getting hired with a new company.

However, mental health can frequently get neglected and even purposely ignored. For instance, when teens and adults are aware of a psychological symptom they’re experiencing, they might choose to keep it to themselves. Sadly, mental health comes with a stigma, or a societal judgment, which keeps people from getting the help they need.

Yet, because adolescence is a vulnerable time for teens, it’s important that parents are proactive when it comes to the mental health of their teens. And one way they can do this is by having their teen assessed by a mental health professional for teen depression. For someone who has never experienced a mental illness, this might seem a little far-fetched. Someone like this might ask themselves, “Why have an assessment when nothing is wrong?”

The trouble is that most teens (and adults) aren’t familiar enough with mental illness to know that nothing is wrong. In fact, many adults say later that they thought they recognized the beginning signs of their mental illness (whether it was depression, bipolar disorder, addiction or anxiety) during their adolescence – although they didn’t know it at the time.  Also, there are many adults who later admit that they didn’t know their persistent experience of sadness was a symptom of depression. Instead, they believed everyone experiences sadness and that it was part of being human.

Accompanying your teen to an appointment with a mental health provider for teen depression assessment can be enlightening. You and your teen may learn about healthy psychological experience.  If you’re concerned about depression, for instance, the psychologist or therapist might use the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which is used to assess depression. It is a short and easy questionnaire that can point to whether your teen has symptoms of depression.

The results of the assessment might reveal that your teen has a diagnosis of depression. And if that’s the case, then at least you have information to take the appropriate steps forward, such as finding the right treatment, making healthy decisions, and providing the care that your teen needs. On the other hand, if no diagnosis is found, you can put any worries to rest.

In addition to assessments for teen depression, teens can be assessed for other mental illnesses using the following assessments:

  • Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) assesses symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale II (A-DES) is used to measure the degree of dissociation, commonly caused by trauma.
  • Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is an assessment that measures the degree of obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
  • Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) is one of the most widely used tools for assessing behavior and signs of an eating disorder.

You can look at an assessment just as you would a check-up with your doctor. You go there hoping nothing is wrong, but if there is a problem, at least you’ve caught it early enough. Catching a mental illness early enough can prevent further complications and keep teens psychologically safe and well cared for.