HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The pandemic is not just causing health problems linked to COVID-19. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Tuesday warned of a developing adolescent mental health crisis in the wake of the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, health experts have warned that social isolation can worsen mental health problems in children and after two years, experts are calling it a potential crisis for the future.
Donna Howard, a Texas Democratic state representative for District 48, said the Surgeon General issuing a health advisory for adolescent mental health issues is a serious issue because “those advisories are offered when there is an urgent public health crisis that requires immediate attention â.
Howard said that even before the pandemic, one in three high school students reported lingering sadness and hopelessness about the future.
During an online seminar on adolescent mental health issues, Greg Hansch, a representative of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, said that adolescents are one of the groups most at risk of developing mental disorders, the pandemic exacerbates these problems.
âThe teenage years are the time in a person’s life when mental health problems are most likely to appear, with half of all problems starting at age 14,â said Hansch.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, and health experts say it is important for students to have the resources they need to get help, which may include raising awareness about ” more people with mental health problems to help them de-stigmatize them.
âIn terms of media and stigma, we believe that because these conversations are taking place more people are willing to access these services,â said Luanne Southern, representative of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium.
While the pandemic has contributed to an increase in mental health problems among adolescents, it has also expanded access to mental health resources and allowed mental health professionals to reach more people.
âSome of the flexibilities of the COVID-19 pandemic have helped them be able to serve more customers and deliver services to them faster through telehealth,â said Alison Mohr Boleware, who represented the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers during the conference.