Social Media Raises Risk Of Teen Depression, Pediatricians Say

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- For the first time in a decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines on diagnosing and treating teens with depresson.

The academy says children should be screened yearly beginning at age 12 for mental health issues, suicide, and depression.

Dr. Tara Narula, CBS Medical Consultant, says the modern conveniences we take for granted may be causing issues.

"Research has shown us that social media, internet, screentime does play a role in increasing the risk of suicidality and depression," she said. "We're losing that face-to-face interaction that's so important."

As many as 1 in 5 teens will experience depression. Half of those go undiagnosed--and half of those diagnosed don't receive appropriate treatment.

"There could not be a better time in our society for putting children, adolescents, and their emotional health at the forefront," she said. "We know the scope of this problem is staggering."

The new guidelines point to a shortage of mental health clinicians and barriers to access, especially for children.

They also recommend that pediatricians spend time with parents to identify risk factors and what symptoms might look like.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

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