Learnings From the US Teen Mental Health Crisis
1. The Mental Health Crisis Among Teen Girls in the US: It’s Alarming!
As new federal data reveals the alarming rates of violence and trauma facing teen girls in the US, it’s important to recognize that youth mental health is not just an American issue. If teen girls in one part of the world are affected, it’s likely that similar trends are present elsewhere. Therefore the mental health crisis among youth is a global problem that concerns everyone of us. In addition, the increase of percentage of teen boys struggling may only be half as high, but it is just as alarming.
2. A Pandemic,Violence and Trauma
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the youth mental health crisis, with many young people experiencing increased feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and hopelessness. The inability to attend school or socialize with peers has further isolated many teens, leading to an unprecedented level of mental health issues.
In the US, nearly one in three girls considered suicide within the past year, and over half of LGBTQ+ teens said they’d struggled with their mental health, with one in five reported actually attempting suicide during that time. Additionally, 18% of girls and 22% of LGBTQ+ youth faced sexual violence within the same time frame. More than 10% of teen girls also reported being forced to have sex. This is unbearable.
3. On Top Of Parent’s Worry List: Youth Mental Health
Not surprisingly, children’s mental health tops the list of parents’ worries. Across the world parents ring the alarm about the state of youth mental health. According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 40% of American parents are very to extremely worried that their children will be enveloped by depression, anxiety, panic attacks or other disorders at some point.
If you’ve ever witnessed bullying or been a victim of it yourself, you’ll get why bullying was next on the list, with 35% of parents worried about that. Concerns also varied by race and economic background, with three in 10 Black parents fearing their child might be shot, while only one in 10 white or high-income parents expressed the same dread.
4. A Shortage Of Support Across Nations
On top of that, the ongoing shortage of mental health providers to meet the needs of young people exacerbates the youth mental health crisis. With schools being on the front line of students’ mental health every day, President Biden has promised to support more mental health providers in schools. Developing safe and useful digital mental health tools to engage teens outside of social media is also on his agenda. All of this, however needs to be on every nation’s agenda, because the problem is not limited to the US and it will not go away by itself.
Numerous high-income countries across the globe are struggling to provide adequate mental health support for their youth. All the while we cannot afford to ignore the mental health crisis among young people. It’s time to prioritize youth mental health and work together to provide young people with the necessary resources and support.
But we need to do much much more.
Our children are our future, and we cannot afford to lose them to depression, anxiety, and suicide. It is essential that we make youth mental health a priority and provide the necessary resources and support to address this issue. Whether it’s supporting mental health providers in schools, developing safe and useful digital tools to engage teens, or simply being there to listen and provide support, we must all do our part to help the next generation.
This is exactly why we created the free Earkick selfcare companion that is already being used by thousands of students across the world. There are numerous other solutions in the making, but we need all hands on deck, because every individual lost to a mental health issue is one too many.
5. Reasons To Start Supporting Our Teens
If we fail to address youth mental health issues and provide the necessary support, we risk losing an entire generation to the ongoing crisis. Here’s why it matters so much and what’s at stake for all of us.
- Will be tomorrow’s leaders: Teens today will be the ones who will lead our societies and organizations in the future. They will be the ones who will make important decisions that will shape our world, from business and politics to science and technology.
- Will drive innovation: As the first generation to grow up with technology at their fingertips, today’s teens have a unique perspective on the world and are more likely to come up with new ideas and innovations that will shape the future.
- Are the next generation of workers: Today’s teens will soon enter the workforce and become the next generation of employees, entrepreneurs, and innovators. They will bring fresh ideas and new ways of thinking to the workforce, which will help drive economic growth and prosperity. We depend on their mental readiness and resilience.
- Will continue to shape culture: Teens have always been at the forefront of shaping culture, from music and fashion to social and political movements. Today’s teens will be the ones who continue to shape culture and influence the way we think about important issues.
- Will be the ones to solve tomorrow’s problems: As the world faces significant challenges like climate change, social inequality, mental health and global pandemics, today’s teens will be the ones to find solutions to these problems and create a better world for future generations.
Note that these five are just a few of many reasons why today’s teens are our future, and there are countless other ways in which this generation will shape our world in the years to come.
The current data about teenage girls in the US is a wakeup call and serves as a reminder that youth mental health issues are not exclusive to any single country. We must be aware of its prevalence in other countries, especially in Asia and Europe if we do not want to lose a generation to a mental health crisis.
Let’s join forces and prioritize youth mental health for our young, providing access to resources and support for those who need it. Every action counts, no matter how small, and by working together, we can create a brighter future for them, for us, for everyone.