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NICE publish guideline on depression in children and young people: identification and management

For Depression

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published a guideline on the identification and management of depression in children and young people.

The guideline covers identifying and managing depression in children and young people aged 5 to 18 years. Based on the stepped-care model, it aims to improve recognition and assessment and promote effective treatments for mild and moderate to severe depression.

Recommendations
The guideline includes new and updated recommendations on:
  • psychological therapies for mild depression
  • psychological therapies for moderate to severe depression
These supplement the existing recommendations on:
  • care for all children and young people with depression
  • stepped care
  • detection, risk profiling and referral
  • recognition
  • transfer to adult services
Who is it for?
  • Children and young people with depression and their families and carers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers

The guideline covers:
  • Depression in children and young people: the care you should expect
  • Making decisions together
Depression in children and young people: the care you should expect
Depression affects children and young people but can be harder to recognise than in adults. It can make going to school, seeing friends and taking part in social activities more difficult. But there are a variety of treatments that can help, usually starting with a type of psychological (‘talking’) therapy. Early support and treatment for depression not only helps children and young people get back to living their lives, but also reduces the chance of problems continuing into adulthood.

We want this guideline to make a difference to children and young people with depression and their families or carers by making sure:
  • healthcare professionals who see children and young people, for example, in schools, GP surgeries, community groups and care homes, know how to spot signs of depression and how to help
  • a child or young person’s assessment for depression covers not just their symptoms, but how these affect all areas of their life, including school, home and friendships
  • healthcare professionals know which therapies to recommend first for mild, moderate and severe depression, and when to think about medication
  • talking therapies are offered to fit individual needs – this could be online, one-to-one with a therapist, with a group or with the family
Making decisions together
Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Healthcare professionals should give children, young people and their families or carers clear information, explain the different options and listen carefully to their views and concerns. They should also:

work closely with children, young people and their families or carers, build trusting relationships and set joint goals for treatment
think about a child or young person’s age and stage of development when advising on treatments and support
ask the young person about things that may have caused depression and anything that may affect treatment.

© NICE [2019]

Depression in children and young people: identification and management. NICE guideline [NG134] Published date: June 2019
Available from: See Link below. All rights reserved. Subject to Notice of rights
NICE guidance is prepared for the National Health Service in England. All NICE guidance is subject to regular review and may be updated or withdrawn. NICE accepts no responsibility for the use of its content in this product/publication.

The information provided by NICE was accurate at the time this article was issued.


Link to NICE guideline: Depression in children and young people: identification and management

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