Yesterday, the U.S. Surgeon General called attention to the mental health crisis among youth that has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Vivek Murthy’s report noted that prior to the pandemic, 20 percent of children and adolescents had a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. In the decade before COVID-19, the number of high school students who reported symptoms of depression jumped 40 percent, and suicidal behaviors among high school students increased 36 percent.
Studies over the past two years have indicated that those trends have accelerated. The CDC reported that youth emergency room visits for mental health reasons quickly increased in 2020, while the Kaiser Family Foundation observed that students reported declines in mental health and the ability to cope with stress.
“It is incredibly important that Dr. Murthy is making youth mental health a priority,” said Rosecrance President and CEO Dave Gomel, Ph.D. “Our youth have faced so much disruption, stress and trauma during formative years. While some have received treatment, we know that many have not or cannot receive the support that they need, and we as a nation need to support those who need life-giving help the most.”
Throughout the pandemic, Rosecrance has championed hope through physician-led evidence-based programs for teens. Residential services have served a growing number of youth diagnosed with mental health disorders and dual-diagnosis clients for whom mental health is the primary concern. In addition, Rosecrance has worked with schools and families to provide counseling services and supports.
“Our teams do amazing work each day in the lives of youth and their families, but more work remains to be done,” Gomel said. “We are constantly looking for ways to serve our clients better and address inequities in the system that prevent some from finding care.”