Here are some excerpts from an outstanding article discussing the exploding issue of anxiety and mental health issues among young people.
Nationally, young people across the nation increasingly are reporting rising rates of mental distress amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
While COVID-19 is a public health crisis, it’s created a parallel epidemic involving mental health — especially among younger people.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an annual observance to remind people of the importance of overall well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the pandemic calls attention to the need to nurture both.
Among children ages 12 to 17 years old, NAMI reported, there was a 31% spike in mental health emergency room visits in 2020.
The high school years can be a roller coaster of emotions and stresses in the best of times as students worry about grades, social acceptance and admission to college. But the uncertainty of a pandemic, political polarization and this past year’s racial unrest further exacerbated those tensions.
This extends to older teens and young adults as well.
A recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 63% of 18- to-24-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25% acknowledging increased substance use to deal with that stress and 25% saying they seriously had considered suicide.
Nationally among all adults, according to the CDC, 2 in 5 Americans report symptoms of anxiety or a mental health disorder — an alarming increase from 1 in 5 before the pandemic.
In Virginia, mental health concerns among adults have soared during the pandemic, according to interim results from COVIDsmart, a digital health study. The study is sponsored by the Eastern Virginia Medical School-Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute (HADSI), George Mason University and Vibrent Health.
Of the more than 450 people who participated in the study in March, nearly 1 in 4 reported experiencing signs and symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety (22%) or moderate to severe depression (24%). That’s three times greater than before the pandemic, when in 2019 6% of adults in the U.S. reported moderate or severe anxiety and 7% reported moderate or severe depression, according to Dr. Sunita Dodani, director of HADSI and principal investigator of the study.
But remember, anxiety and depression strike all ages.
“Mental Health Week.” RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH (May 8, 2021).