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Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Apr;32(4):255-60.

Depression in adolescents. Key issues in assessment and management.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University.



Mental disorders affect young people disproportionately and are increasing in prevalence. Knowledge about depression in adolescents and skill in its management lags behind that for adults. Depression is the most common mental disorder and untreated depression is associated with significant adverse effects. Depression is also a major predictor of suicidal behaviour and suicide. The role of the general practitioner in the treatment of adolescent depression is of considerable public health and clinical importance.


The aim of this paper is to highlight the major differences between adolescent and adult depression in relation to detection, assessment and treatment.


The new Commonwealth Government's Better Outcomes in Mental Health Initiatives and Incentives provide an opportunity for GPs to improve their knowledge and skills in the detection, assessment and treatment of mental disorders. It is hoped that this paper will encourage GPs to include the topic of adolescent depression in their learning objectives.

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