By Alia Wong, Education Enterprise Reporter, USA Today
A youth mental health crisis was percolating for years. Rates of anxiety and depression had been on the rise. In 2017, suicide became the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 through 24.
Then came COVID-19. Americans of all ages say the pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health, but the trend has been especially pronounced among young people.
The rate of children ages 11 through 17 who were screened last year for anxiety and depression was 9% higher than it was in 2019, according to a Mental Health America report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the number of children sent to emergency rooms for mental health conditions skyrocketed from April to October last year.
Although federal statistics for last year aren’t yet available, anecdotal evidence suggests a surge in teenagers being treated for suicidal ideation and attempts in hospitals – a phenomenon corroborated by various surveys.