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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released some startling statistics about the intensifying youth mental health crisis and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have all felt the effects of the pandemic on our individual and collective mental health, shifting the focus on the youth of America and how they’ve fared in these tumultuous times is vital to combating the threats on the nation’s health and wellness as a whole. 

Performing its first nationally representative survey of high school students, the CDC found that 37% experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with more than 4 in 10 teens reported that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless.” Furthermore, 1 in 5 students said they have contemplated suicide. 

Though these numbers are hard to stomach, these trends are not novel or surprising. The CDC has previously reported and analyzed increases in trends of poor mental health and suicide behaviors in U.S. teens over the last decade. 

Awareness is increasing of the issue however. The American Academy of Pediatrics has even declared a national emergency due to the state of children and adolescent mental health. Similarly, the U.S. Surgeon General released an advisory call to action to protect youth mental health. Steps are being taken to combat the deeply rooted issue, and it will take a large scale effort to alter the course of this dark potential future.

Simply Psych urges all people to seek out mental healthcare. Whether you are a kid or adult struggling with working through trauma or overcoming hopelessness, everyone could benefit from therapy. Making efforts to widely and publicly encourage mental healthcare is a big step in reducing the stigma surrounding the topic. 

Decreasing misinformation and disinformation is only one piece in the much larger puzzle, though. Creating a fully inclusive and accessible system for mental health care is key. We must strengthen the mental health ecosystem through increased funding as well as investments in mindfulness-centered methods of practice.

Burnout is real, and the mental healthcare workforce is in a state of massive exodus from the field leading to devastating shortages. The heaviness of the situation is overwhelming enough to deal with, and they cannot be expected to take on the full burden of leading our youth (and entire nation) out of this mental health dilemma we have all found ourselves in. Investing in care starts with investing in the caregivers. 

We must commit to taking strides in combating this mental health conundrum that our kids are facing. Simply Psych hopes to see this integrated by being the anti-MSO with clinicians as the focus, so that they are able to run their practices how they dream (thus patients receive better care). Mindful offers full autonomy and agency for practicing mental health clinicians, opening up greater levels of care for mental health care seekers. No matter where you fit in the mental health ecosystem, prioritizing avenues to facilitate mindfulness and promote the mental health treatment and care of the youth in this nation is of the utmost importance for us all.

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