Facing the Facts: Youth Mental Health
Facing the Facts: Youth Mental Health
-By David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) Community Outreach Specialist Jessica Liria, M.S.
Childhood, a period of simpler times…right? For many adults, the first two decades of existence are associated with thoughts of being carefree and adventurous. It was a time to play, have fun, and only focus on the present. As we age into adulthood, life gets busier and more stressful; there are careers to build, families to raise, bills to pay, and so little time to do it all. Sadly, the reality is, our youth today do not feel the same positive thoughts about their upbringing. The mental health of children and adolescents is suffering. Anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide are far too common these days among our younger generations.
This is a time for everyone to pay attention, get involved, and offer hope. As a society, we must work together to ensure the wellness, and strengthen the resiliency, of our future leaders and community members.
A Growing Crisis
While COVID-19 has certainly placed a strain on youth mental health, the increase in related concerns has been apparent well before 2020. David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) operates the only Crisis Stabilization Unit in Collier County. This facility provides an immediate, safe place for anyone experiencing thoughts of harming themselves, or are in a state of crisis related to their mental health.
Admissions to the children’s unit, which provides these emergency services to individuals under the age of 18, reflects a steady increase in numbers served, year after year, dating back to 2013. In fact, from fiscal year 2017-18 to 2018-19, there was nearly a 30% increase in the need for this service. For calendar year 2019, there were 620 admissions; that is 620 instances of a young person experiencing a crisis related to their mental health. And in 2021, that number increased to 885.
DLC emergency services are available 24/7/365. Learn more here: https://davidlawrencecenters.org/emergency-services/
Know the Numbers
Here are some quick facts to understand the dire straits young people are experiencing:
- According to the CDC, 26% of high school schools experienced feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness in 2009; this grew to 37% in 2019, and 44% in 2021.
- The Mental Health Association estimates 60% of youth who experience major depression do not receive any treatment.
- By 2018, suicide became the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10-24—this stands true today and led to the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association declaring youth mental health a national emergency in 2021.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports 1 in 6 youth, aged 6-17, experience a mental health disorder each year.
- 3 million young people across the U.S. experienced serious thoughts of suicide in 2020 (NAMI).
- The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 32% of youth meet criteria for an anxiety related disorder.
- 6,663 young lives were lost to suicide in 2020 according to the U.S. Population Reference Bureau.
- 50% of all lifelong mental illnesses begin by age 14; 75% by age 24 (NIMH).
What YOU Can Do
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, family member, neighbor, church member, coach, teacher, or even a stranger, there are things you can do to support the mission in helping the young people around you.
Educating ourselves and raising awareness is a great place to start. By acknowledging the challenges faced and looking for solutions, we can all take part in changing these staggering statistics. In honor of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, DLC is offering a variety of free, virtual presentations, on Thursday, May 11th. See below for the presentation schedule and register at DLCenters/org/events (or scan QR code?).
- Building the Foundation: Infant Mental Health
- This presentation will feature an overview of the cognitive changes that occur in the brains of children ages birth-3 years. Participants will learn about 10 developmental leaps and strategies to incorporate into their interaction with young children. Self-care tips and emotion management techniques will be discussed and additional resources, both nationally and locally, will be provided.
- Presentation Times: 8:30-9:15am and 1:00-1:45pm
- Shining the Light on Youth Mental Health
- This presentation will review statistics and data related to the mental health of children and adolescents in the United States and will address common challenges for youth, including most prevalent diagnoses. Participants will learn how to recognize warning signs, address concerns, and utilize resources available in the community.
- Presentation Times: 9:45-10:30am and 2:30-3:15pm
- Let’s Talk About It!
- This presentation discusses some of the biggest safety concerns among youth: social media, substance use and violence. Participants will learn about prevalence data and trends, and how to have preventative conversations with children and adolescents related to these topics.
- Presentation Times: 11:00-11:45am and 4:00-4:45pm
Jul 28, 2022 | Blog, Mental Health