Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care (GLAD-PC): Part I. Practice Preparation, Identification, Assessment, and Initial Management

Pediatrics. 2018 Mar;141(3):e20174081. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4081.


Objectives: To update clinical practice guidelines to assist primary care (PC) clinicians in the management of adolescent depression. This part of the updated guidelines is used to address practice preparation, identification, assessment, and initial management of adolescent depression in PC settings.

Methods: By using a combination of evidence- and consensus-based methodologies, guidelines were developed by an expert steering committee in 2 phases as informed by (1) current scientific evidence (published and unpublished) and (2) draft revision and iteration among the steering committee, which included experts, clinicians, and youth and families with lived experience.

Results: Guidelines were updated for youth aged 10 to 21 years and correspond to initial phases of adolescent depression management in PC, including the identification of at-risk youth, assessment and diagnosis, and initial management. The strength of each recommendation and its evidence base are summarized. The practice preparation, identification, assessment, and initial management section of the guidelines include recommendations for (1) the preparation of the PC practice for improved care of adolescents with depression; (2) annual universal screening of youth 12 and over at health maintenance visits; (3) the identification of depression in youth who are at high risk; (4) systematic assessment procedures by using reliable depression scales, patient and caregiver interviews, and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition criteria; (5) patient and family psychoeducation; (6) the establishment of relevant links in the community, and (7) the establishment of a safety plan.

Conclusions: This part of the guidelines is intended to assist PC clinicians in the identification and initial management of adolescents with depression in an era of great clinical need and shortage of mental health specialists, but they cannot replace clinical judgment; these guidelines are not meant to be the sole source of guidance for depression management in adolescents. Additional research that addresses the identification and initial management of youth with depression in PC is needed, including empirical testing of these guidelines.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult