The survey concluded that declining mental health in American adolescents was exacerbated by negative experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic


Deteriorating mental health among teens in the United States was a concern before the COVID-19 pandemic, and major disruptions in school and social life since early 2020 have exacerbated the situation.

New study From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that most teens experienced adverse events during the Covid-19 pandemic – and these experiences have been linked to a higher prevalence of poor mental health and suicide attempts.

Nearly three-quarters of high school students in the United States reported having experienced at least one childhood experience in 2021, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, food insecurity, or the loss of a parent’s job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyberbullying, dating violence, and sexual violence are also included.

Adolescents who had experienced one or two adverse events were nearly six times more likely to report poor mental health and about six times more likely to report a recent suicide attempt than those who had not experienced any adverse events.

And the effects are getting worse. About 1 in 13 teens (8%) have reported experiencing four or more adverse events during the Covid-19 pandemic. For these students, poor mental health was four times more common, and suicide attempts were 25 times more common than for those without any adverse events.

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote in a recent report: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the extent and severity of the mental health crisis for racial, ethnic, sexual and gender minorities and marginalized youth.” public health report. “Experiences of trauma and marginalization, among other factors, can put these young people at increased risk of mental health difficulties later in life as well.”

The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study was based on responses from more than 4,000 high school students to a 2021 survey of adolescent behaviors and experiences. It does not capture all of the factors that influence adolescent mental health or suicidal behaviors and does not assess lifetime exposure to the specific adverse childhood events listed.

But Another CDC study This year’s publication found that there have been significant increases in high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, or contemplating suicide or attempting suicide over the past decade — and it has only gotten worse during the pandemic.

“Young people are in crisis,” Kathleen Ether, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescents and School Health, said in March.

This and similar data shows us that young people and their families have been under incredible levels of stress during the pandemic. Our data exposes cracks and reveals an important layer of insight into the severe upheaval some young people have faced during the pandemic.”

Overall, emotional abuse had the strongest association with poor mental health and suicide attempts, according to new CDC data.

“For more than a decade, suicide has been the second or third leading cause of death among adolescents aged 14 to 18 years,” the researchers wrote. “This analysis highlights the ongoing and urgent need to address adversities that occurred before and during the pandemic to mitigate its impact on mental health and behaviour.”

They said strategies include stronger economic support for families and linking both youth and parents to community and school resources.

“As devastating as these statistics are, the real tragedy is that we failed to respond appropriately,” Murthy wrote.

“We must collaborate collectively to ensure that young people, especially those who are marginalized, understand that struggling with their mental health does not mean that they are broken or that they have done something wrong. We must actively engage young people and their families in conversations about mental health and promote that mental health challenges are real and shared treat it.”

Through the US bailout, the Biden administration has invested $5 billion in mental health and substance abuse programs through the US Department of Health and Human Services, with billions more proposed in future budgets.

An important shift occurred this summer, with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline moving to a three-digit calling code: 988. Early data points to success, with calls jumping 45% in the first month compared to the same time a year earlier.

Tim Jansen, CEO of Community Crisis Services Inc. , which operates a 988 call center in Maryland, said most of the increased volume he’s seen has been in chatting and texting.

“With young people,” he said, “that’s how they communicate.”

He said approaching the mental health of adolescents and young adults is delicate and should be different from the way adults are treated. But most importantly, it is crucial to stress that these crises can affect anyone.

“Awareness is massive,” Jansen said.

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