Youth Mental Health Crisis

The pandemic has taken a toll, forcing many people into isolation for weeks & months, away from work & school, and from our friends and families. The consequences have been astounding, and one of them we’re seeing is the alarming amounts of anxiety, sadness, and depression among our children and teens. The U.S. surgeon general issued a stark warning that we’re in the midst of a mental health crisis that’s having “devastating effects” among young people. Dr. Vivek Murthy cited rates of anxiety and depression that started climbing even before the pandemic and then skyrocketed during it.

The Centers for Disease Control’s yearly youth risk survey found nearly three in five teenage girls felt persistently sad or hopeless, a 60% increase over the past decade. Worse yet, almost one in three girls seriously considered attempting suicide, also up nearly 60% from a decade ago. 10% say they made a suicide attempt. And while the pandemic unquestionably caused huge disruptions for teens, many of these trends have been on the rise for the better part of a decade, long before the pandemic.

This week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the State and PBS Stations across New York are teaming up to present special programming during the week of September 25-October 1 focused on teen mental health, and offer resources, including a multi-media toolkit for schools that is designed to equip educators and school mental health professionals with critical knowledge and strategies to support the mental well-being of their students. The free online toolkits include videos produced by mental health organizations and public media producers that cover suicide prevention, stress and anxiety, and social media.

Learn more:

Mental Health Matters: A Toolkit for Educators on PBS LearningMedia