Carilion pediatrician likes new recommendations for teen screenings for depression

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) When kids go for those wellness visits, the pediatrician may have some new questions for them.

Pediatrician Dr. John Moore likes new recommendations to screen teens for depression, and to help facilitate conversations with children about sex education.

That's because the American Academy of Pediatrics has new recommendations for doctors, as they interact with kids on topics like sex education and depression.

With teen suicide now the second- leading cause of death among adolescents, the AAP is offering new recommendations to help pediatricians identify and help teens at risk for suicide.

Doctor John Moore likes the recommendation, and says it's important for doctors and parents to monitor teens for symptoms.

"Teenagers are at as high of a risk for suicide and depression as grownups are, but they tend to not talk about it in the same way that grownups do. So, it's important for us to ask the questions," says Dr. Moore.

At his office in Botetourt County, doctors asks patients over the age of 13 to fill out a questionnaire.

"So, we'll ask them if they've been sleeping well, if their appetite's been normal, if they're getting the same enjoyment out of their activities that they had been in the past. And it's important that we ask the child these things, not the parents," he says.

Pediatricians are also taking on a bigger role when it comes to sex education. Dr. Moore says the discussion needs to start at the early elementary age.

He says the key is for parents to not stress out about it, and pediatricians can help ensure that kids are receiving age- appropriate information.

You can read about the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We have a link to the right of this story.