According to a group that advises the Federal Government on health care issues, all American adults should undergo a depression health care screening.

This idea is from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, who released a report this week. Previously they had recommended this only when mental health services were available to the person. But now that has changed. According to NW Cable News:

"We're hoping that our screening guidelines are an impetus to increase awareness that depression is common, it's painful, it's costly and it's treatable," said Karina Davidson, a member of the task force and a psychologist in the department of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center."

Officials on the panel are stressing more interactive treatment for persons suffering from depression, because according to them, increasing numbers of anti-depressant medications can pose potential health risks for certain groups of people, including breastfeeding women. Others are linked to potential issues in developing fetuses in pregnant women. Again, according to NW Cable News:

"Major depressive disorder, a severe type of depression, is the leading cause of disability in wealthy countries such as the United States, according to the task force. Nearly 7% of American adults, or about 16 million people, had at least one "major depressive episode" last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness."

However, health care providers are not required to follow the advice or findings of the task force. It is for advisory purposes only. Critics of the idea, although admitting more effort is needed in identifying and helping with depression, say it's unfair to insist that every adult person undergo such a screening. They say it infringes upon citizen's rights, and if a person is wrongly diagnosed as depressed or suffering from a mental condition, it could be misused against them.


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