The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued a public health advisory on Tuesday about the rise of mental health concerns in youth following the pandemic. Isolation, depleted social interactions, and constant screen handling, all resulting from stay-at-home mandates, are a root cause.
Murthy said the issues with mental health were already rising before the pandemic hit. The sudden change to everyday life is a huge shock that can trigger mental illness.
Youth with existing mental health issues became worse. Those who never had depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, began exhibiting symptoms introducing new mental health patients.
“The challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate. And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating,” said Murthy.
“Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among young people, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, have increased. Recent research covering 80,000 youth globally found that depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms,” said U.S. Surgeon General Murthy.
The sudden shift between in-person and online schools was not complementary for school-age children. Staying cooped up from stay-at-home mandates and fear of contracting COVID-19 meant students were left to deal with whatever situations they had at home by themselves.
Recognizing and assisting in child abuse cases became difficult because of social distancing and other isolated measures implemented to keep COVID-19 at bay. With a potential new epidemic at hand, addressing the importance of getting help for mental illness, especially for the youth, made up the overall notice from the U.S. Surgeon General.
“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable and often preventable. This advisory shows us how,” he said.
The advisory gives actionable ways everyone can help children with mental health issues from the pandemic or just in general. The advisory sectioned out different groups, from educators to parents to social media sites, letting them know what they can do.
The advisory is available online for public view.