Children today suffer greater mental health challenges than ever due to an ongoing pandemic, cyberbullying, the risk of school shootings, and concerns about climate change. “Many students will exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety as they return to the classroom,” says Mental Health America (MHA) in a toolkit for back-to-school season.
In the first half of 2022, 82% (662,823) of Americans under the age of 18 who were screened were at risk for a mental health issue. The back-to-school toolkit from MHA states that in June 2022, 56% (3,850) of American kids between the ages of 11 and 13 who were examined reported having regular suicide thoughts, “the highest rate of any age group.”
According to MHA, screening for potential mental health conditions is of great significance, as early diagnosis can make a difference. MHA offers a variety of online screening tests.
All age groups experience worsening mental health issues because to COVID-19 and climate change, as we’ve reported. The burden seems to weigh heavier for students of color and Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ students, according to MHA. Real-life issues which adults can’t seem to resolve, such as violence and racial tension, are troubling for children.
According to the Tufts Medical Center’s Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health, there is more that the biotech and pharmaceutical industries can do to tackle serious mental illness. For one thing, changes in legislation may spur such advancements. The Tufts Center calls for increased government spending on research, longer exclusivity windows for recently authorized therapies, and more funding for mental health professionals.
For more information and resources, and to access the Mental Health America (MHA) Back-to-School Toolkit, click here.
For the mental health tests offered by Mental Health America (MHA) click here.