A new U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory says the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the nation’s youth mental health crisis, and calls for a rapid response.
The report by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy cites early estimates suggesting that more than 6,000 deaths by suicide occurred among youth ages 10 to 24 in 2020.The report calls for expanded access to behavioral and mental health care services for children, including through telehealth and expanding the school-based mental health workforce, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents and young adults are real and widespread. Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression and thoughts of suicide — and rates have increased over the past decade,” Murthy said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating. The future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation.”