Depression in children and young people: identification and management

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence


  • This Guidelines summary includes recommendations that are relevant to the primary care setting. Please refer to the full guideline for the complete set of recommendations

Care of all children and young people with depression

Good information, informed consent and support

  • Children and young people and their families need good information, given as part of a collaborative and supportive relationship with healthcare professionals, and need to be able to give fully informed consent
  • Healthcare professionals involved in the detection, assessment or treatment of children or young people with depression should ensure that information is provided to the patient and their parent(s) and carer(s) at an appropriate time. The information should be age appropriate and should cover the nature, course and treatment of depression, including the likely side‑effect profile of medication should this be offered
  • Healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of children or young people with depression should take time to build a supportive and collaborative relationship with both the patient and the family or carers
  • Healthcare professionals should make all efforts necessary to engage the child or young person and their parent(s) or carer(s) in treatment decisions, taking full account of patient and parental/carer expectations, so that the patient and their parent(s) or carer(s) can give meaningful and properly informed consent before treatment is initiated
  • Families and carers should be informed of self‑help groups and support groups and be encouraged to participate in such programmes where appropriate

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