Many people think the youth mental health crisis started during the pandemic, but the US Surgeon General says the pandemic only made the crisis worse than it was before.
Speaking at the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention in Minneapolis, he offered some startling numbers. “36%…that’s the percentage of high school students before the pandemic who said they constantly felt sad and helpless,” says Dr. Vivek Murthy. “That number, by the way, is now 44%.
Even more sobering, he says there has been a 57% increase in the youth suicide rate in the decade. forward the pandemic.
“This is a crisis,” he told congressional attendees at a forum titled: “The Kids Are Not Well,” moderated by Soledad O’Brien. “But I also hope that we can finally use this moment to do something about it. We have already begun to make major investments on the federal side in treatment, expanding access to treatment. Training more mental health providers.”
At the state level, the Minnesota legislature approved $93 million for a variety of mental health programs for youth and adults.
“We want young people everywhere to know if you’re struggling that you’re not alone,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in an interview after the forum. “There is help available. Now people can call 988 for example and get a trained mental health counselor who can talk to them.”
Above all, Dr. Murthy wants young people to know that they are not alone in dealing with mental health issues.
“We want people to not feel ashamed to come forward and ask for help because we all struggle at some point in our lives and there’s no shame in that.”
After the convention in Minneapolis, Dr. Murthy spoke to student athletes at the University of Minnesota.