Study: College Health Centers Should Screen More Students for Depression

By Staff Writer

Despite the relatively high prevalence of depression among college students, university health offices frequently miss the diagnosis, according to a new study from Northwestern University researchers. This limits the ability of these offices to help students seek therapy from rehab facilities.

Researchers said that testing for depression is easy and can be completed in just a few minutes. If health offices provided this screening to everyone who sought medical care, the rates of diagnosis could be increased.

For the study, investigators screened a group of 1,622 students who visited a campus health center for any reason. They found that 20 to 25 percent of these students had symptoms of depression. However, under current procedures, the majority of these patients would not have been diagnosed.

The study also found that 2 to 3 percent of depressed students had suicidal thoughts at some point. These results underscore the importance of testing all students for depression and helping them find treatment from rehab facilities when appropriate.