The New York Times recently reported that the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, “warned that young people are facing ‘devastating’ mental health effects as a result of the challenges experienced by their generation, including the coronavirus pandemic.” As one indicator, the report cited “significant increases in self-reports of depression, anxiety and emergency-room visits for mental health challenges. In the United States, emergency room visits for suicide attempts rose 51 percent for adolescent girls in early 2021 as compared with the same period in 2019.”
I’m grateful that the Surgeon General is paying attention. According to a study by the CDC (I can’t locate the source — a parent at our kid’s College quoted it in a letter to the President), 50% of youth reported some form of Anxiety and Depression during the pandemic and one out of four experienced suicidal ideation.
Those numbers are crazy high! Let’s not go numb! Our kids are suffering.
The Surgeon General has come out with a rare advisory report, “Protecting Youth Mental Health” containing resources and strategies for action. It’s a start. We need to take the stigma off mental illness now, invest massively in mental health support, and get our young people relief fast.