Detection of risk for future depression among adolescents: Stakeholder views of acceptability and feasibility in the United Kingdom

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Early intervention in psychiatry




adolescent; depression; mass screening; qualitative research; risk


AIM: Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses globally and a leading cause of disability. It is often established by late adolescence and thus identifying which adolescents are most at risk is crucial to enable early intervention to prevent depression onset. We have previously developed a risk calculator to stratify which adolescents are at high risk of developing depression and in this study explore the views of stakeholders to ascertain the acceptability and feasibility of implementing such a tool in the UK. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 UK-based stakeholders (12 healthcare workers, 12 social workers, 12 school workers, 12 policymakers and 12 parents). Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed drawing on framework analysis techniques in NVivo 12. RESULTS: Six overarching themes were identified: facilitators of acceptability; barriers to acceptability; role of stakeholders in implementing risk screening; feasibility of delivering the risk calculator in practice; barriers to implementation; and policy and system implications of using it in the current UK health and social care climate. The implementation of a depression risk calculator in the UK was seen as largely acceptable and feasible by most respondents. There was a strong emphasis on the utility of schools to implement this risk calculator, although it was recognized that training and support would be essential. CONCLUSIONS: Stakeholders were generally positive about utilizing a tool to screen for risk of future depression among adolescents in the UK but raised important concerns which should be taken into account before implementation.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences