(WHTM) — There are new recommendations related to screening young kids for both anxiety and depression.
It’s being recommended that kids age eight and older be screened for anxiety and kids 12 and older be screened for depression, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an independent volunteer panel of national experts.
The task force found that screening and providing follow-up care for older kids and teens can reduce symptoms of depression and potentially resolve anxiety, saying if they can catch the kids early, they know the treatments can work and help.
Doctors say depression sometimes gets missed in younger kids because it looks like crankiness, not sadness. They say parents aren’t able to make the distinction.
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The number of kids being seen in the emergency room for mental health issues has dramatically increased over the past few years. Some experts say depression and anxiety in teens doubled during COVID-19.
“If we can catch the kids early, we know that the treatments can work and help,” said psychiatrist Dr. Will Connor with Rady Children’s Hospital. “The number of kids in our emergency room has skyrocketed over the last few years. Sometimes almost fifty percent of the kids in the ER are there for mental health issues, mostly suicidality, self-injury AND things like that.”
The task force also reports there’s still not enough evidence to know if it’s beneficial to screen much younger kids for depression and anxiety, and all youth for suicide risk, stating more research is critical.