Depression Screening Lacks Strong Evidence, Say Canadians


The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has reversed its 2005 recommendations, finding methodological flaws, possible bias, and uncertain generalizability in a review of the literature. “In the absence of a demonstrated benefit of screening, and in consideration of the potential harms, we recommend not routinely screening for depression in primary care settings, either in adults at average risk or in those with characteristics that may increase their risk of depression,” the task force writes in a forthcoming edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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Of further interest:
Why screening for depression in primary care is impractical (Commentary in Canadian Medical Association Journal)
Screening for Depression Lacks Strong Evidence (Medpage Today)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. If only someone in Australia could have some commen sense to see this. Instead we now not only screen for depression, but anxiety has been added in as well. And of course everyone feels anxious about something at some time in there lives and apparently ALL of it is bad and ALL needs preventive treatment to ensure that it does not go on to become a real disease!!

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