mental health

CDC Study Points To Growing Mental Health Crisis Among Youth

37% of all high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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A growing concern for parents is the number of kids and teenagers reporting poor mental health during the pandemic, and a new study points to the scope and size of the problem.

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 37% of all high schoolers reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, with 44% reported persistently feeling sad or hopeless in the past year.

“Our data make it clear that young people experience significant disruption and adversity during the pandemic and are experiencing a mental health crisis,” Dr. Kathleen A. Ethier The CDC Director of Adolescent and School health said.

The CDC shined a light on several factors affecting millions of school aged kids including the number of students that reported abuse at home. 55% of students reported experiencing emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home. This abuse included students being sworn at, insulted or made fun of by those adults.

“It is something that you occasionally hear people talking about it always seems like it’s over there the CDC report is showing it’s not something that is not quite so over there maybe it is front and center in many of the lives in the kids of the United States,” Dr. John Walkup Chief of Child and adolescent psychiatry at Northwestern said.

11% of students reported experiencing physical abuse by a parent or other adult in the home including beating, kicking or physically hurting the student.

Job instability also contributed to the fears and emotional downturn these students felt, with 29% of students reporting a parent or other adult in their home lost their job.

Mental health was already a growing problem before the outbreak of COVID-19, but the pandemic exacerbated the problem, according to the study. It revealed that students in the LGBTQ+ communities reported greater levels of poor mental health.

“Even within families there’s lack of acceptance, so it is no surprise to me that those vulnerable groups during a time like COVID-19 would also really struggle,” Dr. Walkup said.

Schools are a critical aspect of the recovery for so many of these kids, with the CDC saying it provides a space to socialize, and a distraction for so many battling through mental health.

As more students return to the classrooms Dr. Walkup hopes to begin to see an improvement among students.

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease and life begins to feel more normal, Walkup encourages all parents to reflect on the pandemic experience and address the issues many of us went through in the past two years.

“If they waited on getting therapy, if they waited on working on their marriage if they waited on kind of getting themselves right spiritually now is the time folks take the time to spend the time to do the things you need to do to become the parents your children deserve you to be,” Dr. Walkup said.

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