The UK NSC recommendation on Screening for Depression in adults

 
Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed July 2020
Next review due in 2023/24
 
Key downloads
 

 

The UK NSC carried out an evidence review in 2020 for screening for depression in adults.

The recommendation remains that screening is not recommended because:

·        the test would wrongly identify a large number of people as having depression

·        it is uncertain if screening would reduce the negative impact of depression

·        it is not known if treating milder depression reduces the development of more severe depression in the longer term

·        it is unclear how well depression is identified and managed in the UK at present

National clinical guidelines on recognition and management of depression in adults are available to inform practice.

 

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

The UK NSC carried out an evidence review in 2020 for screening for depression in adults.

The recommendation remains that screening is not recommended because:

  • the test would wrongly identify a large number of people as having depression
  • it is uncertain if screening would reduce the negative impact of depression
  • it is not known if treating milder depression reduces the development of more severe depression in the longer term
  • it is unclear how well depression is identified and managed in the UK at present

National clinical guidelines on recognition and management of depression in adults are available to inform practice.

More about Depression

Depression is a common mental health condition and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. People who are depressed may have feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time and can be severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Read more about depression on the NHS website

Read the UK NSC recommendation on antenatal and postnatal mental health

Stakeholders

The British Psychological Society
Depression Alliance
Faculty of Public Health
National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Evidence summary- depression (2014) (PDF document, 550KB, 09/12/19)
icon UK NSC coversheet and consultation responses- depression (2015) (PDF document, 633KB, 09/12/19)

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