Screening for Depression ()

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Summary of recommendations for clinicians and policy-makers

Recommendations on screening for depression are provided for adults 18 years of age or older who present at a primary care setting with no apparent symptoms of depression. These recommendations do not apply to people with known depression, with a history of depression or who are receiving treatment for depression.

Recommendations for adults

  • For adults at average risk of depression,i we recommend not routinely screening for depression.

    (Weak recommendation; very-low-quality evidence)
  • For adults in subgroups of the population who may be at increased risk of depression,ii) we recommend not routinely screening for depressioniii.

    (Weak recommendation; very-low-quality evidence)

Endorsements

This Clinical Practice Guideline has been endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Footnotes

  1. The average-risk population includes all individuals 18 years of age or older with no apparent symptoms of depression who are not considered to be at increased risk.

  2. Subgroups of the population who may be at increased risk of depression include people with a family history of depression, traumatic experiences as a child, recent traumatic life events, chronic health problems, substance misuse, perinatal and postpartum status, or Aboriginal origin.

  3. Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of depression, especially in patients with characteristics that may increase the risk of depression, and should look for it when there are clinical clues, such as insomnia, low mood, anhedonia and suicidal thoughts.