Physical disorders are commonly comorbid with depression in children attending general medical facilities. However, the depression component is rarely recognised.
A questionnaire on sociodemographics and history of presenting medical conditions was administered together with the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) to all 11-year-old to 17-year-old children attending at nine medical facilities.
In all, 408 children were recruited from 9 health facilities. Whereas the clinicians diagnosed a mental disorder in only 2.5% of the sample studied, 41.3% had CDI scores that suggested mild to moderate depression. The highest proportion of children with depressive symptomatology was found at the Kenyatta National and Teaching Referral Hospital.
Although prevalence rate for depression among children is high, detection rates remain low. This finding has clinical practice and policy implications within and outside Kenya.