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Panel says US adults should get routine screening for anxiety

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For the first time, a US government-backed expert panel has recommended that adults under 65 should be screened for anxiety disorders.

The influential US Preventive Services Task force also said that all adults should be checked for depression, consistent with past guidance.

The change follows widespread warnings from experts on the mental health toll of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The task force stopped short of a screening recommendation for suicide.

The panel acknowledged that suicide is a leading cause of death among American adults but said there was "not enough evidence on whether screening people without signs or symptoms will ultimately help prevent suicide".

The draft guidance is aimed at young and middle-aged adults, including those who are pregnant and post-partum. It envisions the mental health screening as part of routine visits with primary care physicians, said Dr Lori Pbert, a task-force member and professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at UMass Chan Medical School.

"When you go to your primary care provider, you get screened for many, many preventive conditions - blood pressure, heart rate, all kinds of things," she said. "Mental health conditions are just important as other physical conditions, and we really need to be treating mental health conditions with the same urgency that we do other conditions."

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Source: BBC News, 20 September 2022

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