On October 11th, 2022, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published recommendations in the medical journal JAMA recommending screening for anxiety in children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years. These recommendations are for the screening of children and teens who are seen in primary care settings and have no symptoms. Task force members emphasized that any child with symptoms of anxiety, regardless of age, should be connected to care.

This release follows findings from the 2018-19 National Survey of Children’s Health, which found that 7.8% of children and adolescents aged 3-17 had a current anxiety disorder, and it is widely believed that these numbers have worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of psychiatric disorders first present in childhood and adolescence but many of these conditions not identified or treated in a timely manner.

Youth mental health has been a priority for Congress this year, with bills coming out of multiple committees, include the youth mental health discussion draft from the Senate Finance Committee. Congress has only a few weeks to take action on these bills to secure much-needed improvements.