Yes or No: Mental Health Screenings at Annual Check-ups

More than 20 million Americans suffer from mental health disorders – yet nearly half of them fail to receive the treatment they need.

Should everyone, regardless of their gender, age or medical history, receive a mental health screening during annual check-ups, with the intention to promote early detection/prevention and rehabilitation for issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and mood disorders?

Mental health is just as important as physical health, so we say: absolutely.

The Detroit Free Press reported on a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, suggesting annual mental health screenings for everyone would be a very positive thing.

The article quotes medical professional Dr. Nizar El-Khalili: “Unfortunately, most people don’t address mental health issues until they are drastically interfering with their lives. If they were just more aware of mental health from the start, problems could be avoided long before it complicates their lives and costs them thousands of dollars.”

These screenings include questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness, “designed to check for potential mood or anxiety disorders, including depression substance abuse and post-traumatic stress.” If the doctor finds a patient shows symptoms of a mental illness, the patient could be recommended to see a behavioral health professional.

Benefits of annual mental health screenings?

  • Prompt recognition of an illness can also help patients avoid large medical bills down the road, he said.
  • In their early stages, common mental health disorders can be highly treatable through basic coping methods.
  • Annual mental checkups would help reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.

What do you think about mandatory mental health screenings?

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