TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The U.S. Preventative Task Force, a team of medical experts believes all adults 65 years and under should get screened for anxiety. They say ‘extraordinary stress levels’ are plaguing the country. 

On Tuesday, the health panel made the suggestion and is urging doctors to screen all patients for anxiety. 

“With a recommendation like this, we are encouraging primary care practitioners to perform primary care psychiatry with the broader goal of keeping people well rather than waiting until people get so sick that they need specialized more expensive care,” Dr. Thomas Kim, Texas Medical Association.

East Texas doctors believe this is a positive suggestion and could benefit people who are afraid to seek help for their anxiety.

“It’s positive, if more people are screening we’ll catch more people, and then hopefully they’ll catch that small, small percentage of people who are too anxious to bring it up,” Dr. Jamon Blood, UT Health.

Doctors say the negative stigma surrounding anxiety has lessened in the last few years. Medical professionals believe now is the chance to spotlight the need for greater access to mental health care.

“I cannot tell you how many times a patient has come to me and sees themselves as broken, they see themselves as efficient or flawed or unworthy in some way shape, or form,” said Dr. Thomas Kim.

According to the World Health Organization, anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of the pandemic. Dr. Kim with the Texas Medical Association says this new suggestion is a step in the right direction.

“The right answer is to acknowledge that primary care psychiatry has got to be a big part of it, we’ve got to support it, we have to finance it and we have to be okay with all of us not being okay,” Dr. Kim.

The panel isn’t making this recommendation right now for people more than 65 years old because they say anxiety symptoms are similar to normal signs of aging such as fatigue and generalized pain.

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