A US government-backed medical expert council has suggested that all Americans under the age of 65 undergo routine screening for anxiety disorders, shedding attention on the significance of mental health.
The US Preventive Services Task Force, a powerful advisory panel, has made the suggestion and stated that all adults should be screened for current mental illnesses including depression. According to reports, the guidance, which is now only in draught form, will be finalised in the upcoming months following public feedback.
The report, according to panellist Lori Pbert, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, could not have come out at a more crucial moment.
‘You get screened for a tonne of preventive conditions, blood pressure, heart rate, and all kinds of other things when you visit your primary care physician. We should address mental health disorders with the same haste that we treat other conditions because they are just as significant as other bodily conditions.’
It is important to remember that the panel’s conclusions date from the time before the pandemic. Globally, the prevalence of mental health disorders has skyrocketed since the pandemic.
However, the study referenced a data stating that between August 20 and February 2021, the percentage of adults exhibiting signs of anxiety or depression disorder grew to 41.4% from 36.4%.
While the screening recommendation is laudable, the reality is that there is a huge dearth of workforce to put emphasis on mental health well-being. Experts believe that until the number of mental health professionals is not increased, there will not be a major change on the ground.