NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry expert addressed the importance of mental health screenings after a new recommendation from a national organization.

This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued draft statements recommending anxiety screening for adults under 65. It’s the first time this recommendation was made.

“My reaction is, it should’ve been done decades ago,” said Mark Hood, the Mental Health Intake Coordinator at Trident Medical Center. “Depression, anxiety and stress is ever present and it’s even more so in the past two and a half years.”

The Task Force said it continues to recommend screening all adults for depression. According to Hood, pandemic-caused factors like financial struggles and social isolation have led to this increase in mental health issues.

Hood said South Carolina is following the national trend in seeing more depression, anxiety, and stress. He said part of the problem is the stigma surrounding mental health and the refusal to seek help.

“Instead, they wait until the very end and seek out help when everything has crumbled down. The best approach is to hit it right in the beginning,” he explained.

Hood said the Tri-County area is rich in mental health resources. Even more are on the way with the construction of Trident’s new 60-bed Behavioral Health Hospital, which is projected to open in Spring 2023.

“There hasn’t been a new behavioral health facility built in over 30 years in the state of South Carolina. Our population in the Tri-County area is growing so much we need to have facility like this,” according to Hood.

For a list of mental health resources, click here.