New guidelines recommend screening young people for depression and anxiety, Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you’re eight to eighteen years of age, a federal government task force now recommends you be screened for anxiety, and if you’re twelve to 18, for depression. Psychiatrist Karen Swartz at Johns Hopkins says this is likely a good move.

Swartz: Having more people thinking about depression and anxiety in kids is wonderful. There’s this idea that it’s throughout the lifespan so we have to screen adults, which we’ve been doing for a while but we also need to do the children. That’s great. The problem with screening is that screening is not making a diagnosis. Recently, especially after Covid, there are incredibly high rates of depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms. One meta-analysis estimated that 25% of those under 18 had depressive symptoms and about 20% had anxiety symptoms.  :32

Swartz says she isn’t sure if the pandemic can be blamed for the seemingly large uptick we’re seeing in anxiety and depression among young people, but it sure hasn’t helped. She’s hoping screening will. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.