With the recent news that the Affordable Care Act has made anxiety screenings free for girls as young as 13, social work intern Hanna Brinnier shared her thoughts on this groundbreaking change.
The policy change was initiated in 2019 for ACA patients and patients with private insurance, but went into effect this year, and the timing couldn’t be more sound.
At the adolescent day treatment program where she interns, Brinnier has noticed an increase in anxiety disorder symptoms.
“The type of population that I work with, they have enough to go through without trying to navigate a pandemic,” she said.
She welcomes the change in policy, which will allow for primary care doctors to screen young women for anxiety disorder before referring them to a therapist.
“In screening and detecting it younger, it can help sort of prevent it from escalating,” she said. “Getting the children help earlier on can be effective.”
Physical symptoms can often be an indicator of a mental health issue, which is something that can fly by during a typical doctor’s visit.
“You’re sick, you have the flu or a cold, and then you don’t want to talk to anyone, it can be something as severe as depression or anxiety,” she said. “There’s definitely that disconnect.”
Brinnier also highlights the disconnect with how society at large views physical health issues versus mental health issues.
“Society just doesn’t recognize the psychosomatic system and the role that it plays in [diagnosing] anxiety and depression cases,” she said.