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CDC report reiterates urgency of teen mental health crisis

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Monday, December 5, 2022 - 4:51am

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Poor mental health among adolescents has grown from a pre-COVID-19 concern to a post-pandemic crisis.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report identifies some underlying causes and calls for a multipronged approach for helping affected teens.

In a 2021 survey, three-quarters of nearly 4,400 high school students said they’d had an adverse experience during the pandemic such as abuse, neglect, witnessing violence, or having a family member attempt or die by suicide.

Half reported one or two such events in the past year, one-eight reported three and one-twelfth reported four or more.

The latter group was four times more likely to report poor current mental health and 25 times more likely to report a suicide attempt.

The harmful effects accumulated across multiple adverse events, and some — such as emotional abuse and sexual assault — had more direct ties to suicide attempts.

The authors say the results underline an urgent need for a comprehensive approach to address teen adversity and blunt its impact on mental and health. Examples cited include economic support for families, quality child care and community support.

Coronavirus Science