Anxiety, depression screenings recommended for children

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Anxiety, depression screenings recommended for children
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Pediatricians in the Valley will likely start screening children for anxiety, following a recent recommendation by the US Preventative Services Task Force.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pediatricians in the Valley will likely start screening children for anxiety, following a recent recommendation by the US Preventative Services Task Force.

This means your child's next visit to the doctor may include questions surrounding their mental health.

The task force recommends children 8 years and older be screened for anxiety. Kids 12 years and older should be screened for depression. The new guidelines apply to those who aren't showing obvious symptoms of either mental health disorder.

"Maybe they spend more time in their room, they're not as talkative as they used to be, or more secluded from the family environment," explained Dr. Adrianna Sosa, with Valley Children's Healthcare.

According to Dr. Sosa, catching anxiety or depression in children has many benefits.

"The earlier we can do something about it and address those problems to prevent them from becoming bigger problems, or manifesting in bigger ways as they grow older," she said.

When a child's anxiety or depression disorder isn't diagnosed or treated, Dr. Sosa said it will only carry on into adulthood and sometimes worsen.

"In adults, it can manifest even in other mood disorders developing or other challenges in adulthood, difficulties with supporting oneself," Dr. Sosa explained.

The task force's recommendations only serve as guidelines for physicians, but they often change the way doctors provide care.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available 24-7. The new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now 988. You can call or text that number. You will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing lifeline network.