Mental Health Awareness Month- Why Mental Health Matters

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As we all continue to process and heal from the collective trauma from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever to speak out about mental health.

A recent report from the CDC cites a looming mental health crisis among our youth.  According to the study, 44% of American teens report that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless” – up from 37% before the pandemic. The numbers are even worse for LGBTQ+ youth: 75% report emotional abuse in the home and 20% say they’ve experienced physical abuse.

Two years into the pandemic, it is clear that our children are suffering and in pain. Last October, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a rare public advisory on youth mental health. The report details the devastating effect the pandemic has had on children and teens.

“The pandemic era’s unfathomable number of deaths, pervasive sense of fear, economic instability, and forced physical distancing from loved ones, friends, and communities have exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced,” Murthy wrote. “It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place.”

There Is Hope

While these reports are sobering, there is hope. By shining a bright light on this issue, everyone is talking about it. And through these open conversations, children and teens will have the freedom to share their feelings, especially when they’re not feeling ok.

And organizations like The Guidance Center will continue to advocate to find solutions so that no child feels alone or hopeless.

How You Can Help

There are many different ways in which you can make a difference in someone’s life.  Something as simple as asking a friend or a teen how they’re doing, even if they seem okay.  Share your own personal journey and path to mental wellness. These steps may give someone the courage to take that next step toward treatment.

Here is a list of resources that can help start a conversation with a young person who may be struggling: