COLORADO SPRINGS — In a nod to the growing mental health crisis in America, physicians across the country will now be recommended to ask a series of mental health related questions during routine check-ups.
Adults under 65 in the United States should be regularly screened for anxiety, according to the latest recommendations of the nation’s leading medical task force.
The draft suggestions from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force are designed to help primary care clinicians detect early signs of anxiety by using questionnaires and other tools.
Christine Khan is the CEO of Springs Behavioral Health and says it’s about time. “We often separate the physical and mental categories when they have the same impact on an individual,” said Khan.
As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Khan has witnessed scenerios where a patient’s mental stress has had physically debilitating consequences.
“I’ve heard of people going to the emergency room with a panic attack,” Khan said. “And, they dismiss them as needing a time out. We wouldn’t tell someone with diabetes to get over it and send them on their way.”
The Task Force is made up of a group of medical experts who are an independent volunteer panel that advise on health issues. According to research from the Task Force, the average time for initiating treatment for anxiety is currently at 23 years.
Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health issue, affecting about 40% of women at one point in their lives, and more than one in four men.
Their recommendations are up on their website through Oct. 17 for public comment.