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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

New Screening Tool Could Help Doctors Spot Depression Sooner

Lauren Silverman

One in 6 people will have a mood disorder, according to a new UT Southwestern study that looks at how the medical community can better treat depression. UT Southwestern's Dr. Madhukar Trivedi talks with KERA's Think host Krys Boyd about the people we should look to for early detection -- primary care physicians.

Trivedi says a new screening tool called VitalSign6can be used by family doctors to detect depression by having patients answer a few questions on an iPad.

"Like any other chronic medical disease," Trivedi says, "the earlier you diagnose and the earlier you intervene and the more aggressive you are at the beginning, the better the outcomes in the short-term as well as in the long run."

Trivedi says incorporating these screenings into primary care, pediatric and specialty clinics could provide more efficient mental health care for patients.

"We need society to demand that we cannot accept the care of depression the way it is happening," Trivedi says. "It has to get better."

Syeda Hasan is the Elections Editor and Reporter at KERA. Before moving into that role, she covered mental health at the station. A Houston native, her journalism career has taken her to public radio newsrooms around Texas.