NICE clinical guidelines
Issued: September 2005

Depression in children and young people: Identification and management in primary, community and secondary care

This is an extract from the guidance. The complete guidance is available at

Patient-centred care

This guideline offers best practice advice on the care of children and young people with depression.

Treatment and care should take into account the child's or young person's individual needs and preferences as well as the wishes of the parent(s) or carer(s).

Children and young people with depression should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, but this does depend on their age and capacity to make decisions. It is good practice for healthcare professionals to involve the young person's parent(s) or carer(s) in the decision-making process. Where a child or young person is not old enough or does not have the capacity to make decisions, healthcare professionals should follow the Department of Health's advice on consent and the code of practice that accompanies the Mental Capacity Act. In Wales, healthcare professionals should follow advice on consent from the Welsh Government.

If the patient is under 16, healthcare professionals should follow the guidelines in the Department of Health's 'Seeking consent: working with children'.

Good communication between healthcare professionals and children or young people and their parent(s) or carer(s) is essential. It should be supported by the provision of evidence-based information offered in a form that is tailored to the needs of the individual. The treatment, care and information provided should be culturally appropriate and in a form that is accessible to people who have additional needs, such as people with physical, cognitive or sensory disabilities, and people who do not speak or read English.

Unless specifically excluded by the child or young person, parent(s) or carer(s) should have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about the child or young person's care and treatment.

The parent(s) and carer(s) should also be provided with the information and support they need.