The new youth mental health emergency

On December 7th, the United States Surgeon General came forward and
discussed the recent surge in mental health issues in America due to Covid-19. The issues and
challenges faced by young adolescents have reflected their lower rates of happiness.

By Alexander Loginov – 11th grade

According to a public advisory from Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the pandemic had significantly
increased the mental health issues of adolescents in the U.S. The symptoms of anxiety and
depression have doubled throughout the years of the pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic,
mental health issues have been an increasingly dangerous problem. The advisory shows a 40%
increase of feelings of hopelessness from 2009, indicating that the pandemic has only increased
the speed of the inevitable; a mental health crisis.

Covid-19 has caused over 140,000 children to experience a loss of a close family
member as of June 2021, putting pressure and trauma on the mind of the adolescent. Studies
also show that depressive symptoms have potentially doubled as a result of the pandemic.
There are many potential risks caused by the pandemic that could have brought this stress onto adolescents, such as financial instability, experiencing loss within the family, severe changes in lifestyle, and having family or friends who are essential workers.

How we can take action:

● Health care organizations can prioritize prevention of these issues and routinely screen
children for mental health risk factors.
● Educational programs can expand their emotional learning programs and express their
support for mental health of students within the program.
● Family members and caregivers can help the youth develop healthy relationships and be
attentive to the child’s needs.
● Entertainment companies can recognize that some parts of media affect the public’s
mental health
● Technology companies can prioritize the mental health of the user during the
development of the product. This includes things like creating report and block options.
● The government, both federal, state and local, can create programs for assisting youth in
vulnerable groups.

If this speaks to you:
Many young people people experience these mental health issues. If you are someone
who has feelings of sadness, know that you are not alone. Asking for help does not make you
weak or less than others. There are many ways to improve your mental health. Organizing your
time and creating a schedule can help create a sense of control. Serving your community or
school can help you feel like you are part of something, which can reduce feelings of isolation.
Reach out to a trusted person who can help you. You are not alone.

If you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate: 1-800-273-8255

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