On Minnesota's inadequate mental health screening for teenagers

For adults struggling with depression, the signs of the illness likely presented themselves early in the person's adolescence, as early as age 14.

Sue Aberholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota noted mental illness is a "young person's disease" that can be addressed more effectively when diagnosed earlier.

Abderholden and Dr. Joel Oberstar, the CEO of the PrairieCare clinics in the Twin Cities and Rochester, joined host Tom Weber on Thursday to discuss the need for more screening during regular doctor appointments in Minnesota.

A report from the Minnesota Department of Health studied just how many clinics even screened for diseases like depression. It was the first time the department did such a study; it found only 40 percent of Minnesota youth received a mental health screening as part of their preventive checkups in 2014. Of those, 1 in 10 showed signs of depression or other mental health concerns.

In addition, of the more than 600 clinics and medical groups were surveyed, just eight screened 100 percent of their patients for mental health.

Abderholden and Oberstar noted several times during the conversation that a screening is not a diagnosis; it's a first step that suggests further study might be warranted to see if someone has a mental illness.

Treatment and medication comes later, after further analysis.

To listen to the full conversation, use the audio player above.

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