Experts sound alarm on youth mental health crisis

Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 3:53pm
Updated: Friday, August 26, 2022 - 1:18pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.28 MB)

Arizona ranks 44th in the U.S. for suicide among older adults, especially males. Now, experts are sounding a nationwide alarm about a mental health crisis in the youth population, including females.

"We typically think that suicide is a white male phenomena — an older white male phenomena. But what's interesting is that, among the population of Black youth, we saw that girls actually saw an escalating risk for suicide," said Michael Lindsey, dean of NYU's School of Social Work. "Black girls actually saw the largest annual percentage change in terms of suicide increase."

The past decade has seen rising rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior in young people; one in three teens reports poor mental health, and nearly half feel persistently sad or hopeless.

Grief and disruption from the pandemic have only deepened the crisis, especially among children who are Black or LGBTQ+, who also face discrimination and socioeconomic barriers to treatment.

Children of color exhibiting trauma symptoms are more likely to be misdiagnosed with behavioral problems or conditions like ADHD.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared the mental health crisis in youth a national emergency, and a public health advisory by the U.S. Surgeon General calls for calling for a broad and coordinated response.

Nevertheless, resources like youth counseling, outpatient therapy and residential facilities remain scarce.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, there is help. Contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 (en Español, llame al 988, prensa 2; for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, dial 711 then 988). You may also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Science Health + Medicine