A US government-backed medical expert group has advised 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, made the suggestion and stressed that all individuals should be screened for current mental illnesses including depression. According to reports, the advice, which is presently 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 are checked for a tonne of preventative problems, 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 diseases because they are just as significant as other bodily conditions’.
The panel’s results are from the time before the epidemic, which is important to remember. Following the epidemic, the prevalence of mental health conditions has skyrocketed everywhere. But according to a research published in the study, from August 20 to February 2021, the proportion of individuals reporting anxiety or depression symptoms rose from 36.4% to 41.4%. ‘The mental health of Americans has been severely harmed by Covid. Our issue has been given priority due to its significance to public health, but it’s also obvious that during the past several years, mental health has received more attention in this nation’, said Pbert.
The panel has previously suggested anxiety testing for kids and teens between the ages of eight and 18. The panel’s recommendations are neither enforceable or required, but they do have a significant impact on how US doctors practise medicine. According to WION, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a study earlier this year that incidences of anxiety and depression had increased by more than 25% internationally. In addition, major depressive disorder cases increased by 27.6% in 2020.
‘This is a pretty significant rise in scale. It demonstrates how significantly Covid-19 has affected people’s mental health and wellbeing’, stated a representative of WHO’s division of drug use and mental health. The screening advice is admirable, but there is a severe shortage of workers who can prioritise mental health and wellbeing. According to experts, significant change won’t occur unless the number of mental health specialists is raised.