Between falling test scores and rising rates of mental illness, U.S. kids are not alright.

COVID-19 is an easy villain, but signs of strain were showing up well before this virus took hold: Anxiety among children was up 27% and depression 24% between 2016 and 2019, according to data from the National Survey of Children’s Health. Global, national and city-level studies show the pandemic exacerbated an already worrisome trend.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force — affiliated with the U.S. Surgeon General’s office — recently took a needed first step in addressing the issue by recommending that all children 8 and older be screened for anxiety. That’s a crucial advance, but to truly help kids, sufficient resources and support need to live on the other side of any diagnoses.