While many believe the youth mental health crisis began during the pandemic, the US Surgeon General says the pandemic has only made the crisis worse than before.
At the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Minneapolis, he showed a staggering number. “36%…that is the percentage of high school students who felt perpetually sad and helpless before the pandemic,” says Dr. Vivek Murthy. “By the way, that figure is now 44%.”
Even more staggering, he says, the suicide rate among young people has increased by 57% in the last decade. Previous Pandemic.
“This is a crisis,” he told convention attendees in a forum titled “The Kids are not Alright,” moderated by Soledad O’Brien. “But I hope that we can finally use this moment to do something about it. We have already started making major investments on the federal side to expand access to treatment. We train a lot of mental health providers.”
At the state level, the Minnesota legislature has approved $93 million for a series of youth and adult mental health programs.
“We want young people around the world to know that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in a post-forum interview. “There is help available. For example, now people can call 988 and talk to a trained mental health counselor.”
Above all, Dr. Murthy wants young people to know that they are not alone with mental health issues.
“We all want people not to feel ashamed to come forward and ask for help. We all struggle at some point in our lives and it’s not a shame.”
After the competition in Minneapolis, Dr. Mercy spoke to the University of Minnesota student-athletes.