The fast-paced life, along with increased competition from peers and unreasonable expectations, has given rise to anxiety issues not just among men and women but also among children. According to a report in the New York Times, along with elders, anxiety has started affecting children as well. Due to the deteriorating state of mental health among children, the US Preventive Service Task Force has recommended screening children aged 8 to 18 years for the first time.
According to Stephen P Whiteside, child psychologist and director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, anxiety has emerged as the most common mental disorder in childhood. He emphasised the need to screen the kids as he believed most children do not receive the help for mental health care as needed.
The report also said that the two years spent during the Covid-19 pandemic have further caused increased anxiety in children. “Kids with behavioural problems are more likely to be identified as needing help, but if children with anxiety disorders aren’t causing problems at school or at home, they could easily slip through the cracks,” Whiteside said. Whether a clinician has been looped into any signs or symptoms, the US task panel recommended screening for anxiety.
According to task force member Marth Kubik, “It is necessary to intervene before life gets disturbed. A report by the Child Mind Institute suggests that childhood anxiety disorders can turn into depression, stress, behavioural problems, and even drug use.”
The task force said it did not have enough evidence to recommend screening for children younger than 8 years. At the same time, the CDC of America, i.e. the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says that more than 7 per cent of children aged 3 to 17 years have been found to be suffering from anxiety. The study says that signs of depression start appearing by the age of 17.