Purpose: Investigations were conducted on whether screening for adolescent depression was feasible and acceptable to patients in low-income, urban, predominantly Latino clinics. Further investigations were undertaken for provider acceptance of such screening.
Methods: Adolescents aged between 13 and 20 years presenting to 3 pediatric and adolescent primary care practices affiliated with an academic medical center in New York City were screened for depressive symptoms using the Columbia Depression Scale. Providers were surveyed pre- and postimplementation of the screening regarding their attitudes and practices.
Results: The vast majority (92%) of those approached accepted the screening. Twelve percent of those screened were referred for mental health treatment. Providers reported satisfaction with the screening tool and a desire to continue to use it. Screening was limited to 24% of eligible participants, and only 10% of screens were at sick visits.
Conclusions: The Columbia Depression Scale seems acceptable to adolescent providers and patients in the mostly Latino study population. It may prove to be a helpful tool in evaluating adolescents presenting to primary care for depression. Further study will be required in other Spanish-speaking and minority populations. New methods will also be required to reach a greater proportion of patients, particularly those presenting for sick visits.