Resources for Clinicians
Last updated March 2019
Considered resources for experts, mental health professional and physicians, AACAP's practice parameters were developed to guide clinical decision making. They show the best treatments and the range of treatment options available to families living with childhood and adolescent mental illness.
Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Depressive Disorders
Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Suicidal Behavior
Parents Medication Guide
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) developed The Use of Medication in Treating Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Information for Patients and Families. This guide is designed to help individuals make informed decisions about childhood and adolescent depression treatment.
Research and Training
Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS)
A combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication appears to be the most effective treatment for adolescents with major depressive disorder - more than medication alone or psychotherapy alone, according to results from a major clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The initial study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2004. Read more about the TADS study at the National Institute of Mental Health's website
If an initial trial with an SSRI does not lead to improvement, a trial of a second SSRI has just as good a chance as leading to improvement as a trial of the SNRI venlafaxine, according to results from a different clinical trial funded by NIMH. The initial study was published in JAMA in 2008.
Depressed adolescents with prior suicide attempts can do well with a combination of an SSRI and a specific kind of CBT oriented toward suicide prevention.
This article describes the history of the Black Box warning and subsequent research regarding the low risk of suicidal thoughts that may be associated with taking antidepressant medicine.
For depressed adolescents, both CBT and interpersonal psychotherapy are well-established interventions, with evidence of efficacy in multiple trials by independent investigative teams. Evidence for pre-pubertal children is notably weaker than for adolescent interventions.
David Brent, MD
Dr. David Brent, MD of the University of Pittsburgh discusses what psychotherapies are most effective in teenagers with depression, and how they work.
These interventions focus on helping young people change their depressed outlook about the world around them or their relationships with others.
Neal Ryan, MD
Dr. Neal Ryan, MD of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, discusses proven and effective psychotherapeutic interventions for adolescent depression.
Living with Mental Illness: Books, Stories, and Memoirs
AACAP's Consumer Issues Committee developed a list of books for families that can be rich educational tools and therapeutic resources.
These apps can be helpful tools for people with depression. They should be used alongside comprehensive assessment and treatment from a trained mental health professional.
mADAP is a video-based mobile health app based on Johns Hopkins University's Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP). It was developed specifically to provide information about depression to adolescents. The app, which contains information about how adolescents can get help for depression, is available for free on Apple's App Store and Google Play.
CBT Tools for Youth
CBT Tools is another app designed specifically for youth. It provides information about depression as well as templates with which users familiar with CBT can practice their CBT skills. Coping skills and safety plans and can recorded and easily accessed. This app has an associated cost and is available at Apple's App Store.
Mood Tools is another app that provides information about depression, templates that can help people practice and use their CBT skills, as well as fields for entering preferred coping skills and safety plans. The app, which does not contain advertisements, is free and is available at both Apple's App Store and Google Play.
CBT Diary is still another app that makes it easy for mobile users to practice their CBT skills. This app is free but contains advertisements. It is available on Google Play.
Developed by the California Mental Health Authority, this app allows users to easily access contact information for the three individuals who are best positioned to support them in a crisis, as well easily review and update their personal warning signs and coping strategies. The app is free and is available at both Apple's App Store and Google Play.
Facts for Families
AACAP's Facts for Families provides concise up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families.
Depression in Children and Teens
Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
Suicide in Children and Teens
Grief and Children
Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents: Definition
Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents: Different Types
Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part I: How Medications Are Used
Psychiatric Medication for Children and Adolescents Part II: Types of Medications
Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents Part III: Questions to Ask
Where to Find Help For Your Child
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