Depression and bipolar support alliance consensus statement on the unmet needs in diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders in children and adolescents

Joseph T. Coyle, Daniel S. Pine, Dennis S. Charney, Lydia Lewis, Charles B. Nemeroff, Gabrielle A. Carlson, Paramjit Toor Joshi, David Reiss, Richard D. Todd, Martha Hellander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Objective: To focus attention on the critical unmet needs of children and adolescents with mood disorders and to make recommendations for future research and allocation of healthcare resources. Method: The 36-member Consensus Development Panel consisted of experts in child/adolescent or adult psychiatry and psychology, pediatrics, and mental health advocacy. Reviews of the literature concerning youth mood disorders were performed on the subjects of risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and services delivery, and opinions and experiences of mental health advocates were obtained. Results: The Consensus Development Panel listened to presentations and participated in discussions. Independent workgroups of clinicians, scientists, and mental health advocates considered the evidence and prepared preliminary statements. Workgroup leaders presented drafts for discussion by the Consensus Development Panel. The final document was reviewed by the entire group and edited to incorporate input from all participants. Conclusions: Evidence suggests high rates of unmet needs for children and adolescents with depression or bipolar disorder. Training is largely limited to child mental health specialists; general psychiatrists, pediatricians, and other primary care physicians receive little or no training. As a result, treatment patterns may reflect adult treatment plans that are not validated for youths. Effective treatments have been identified and some preliminary prevention models have been developed, but they are not yet widely applied. Patients experience limited exposure to clinicians adequately trained to address their problems and little information to guide care decisions, particularly concerning bipolar disorder. National efforts are required to restructure healthcare delivery and provider training and to immediately develop more advanced research on pathophysiology, prevention, and services delivery effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1494-1503
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Mood disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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