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The CDC warns that teen mental health is in 'steep' decline

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Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images

This past week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that American teenagers are experiencing a steep decline in mental health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and covid lockdown protocols.

“These data echo a cry for help,” Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s acting principal deputy director, said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental wellbeing.”

The Washington Post reported that the CDC’s new findings draw on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 7,700 teens conducted in the first six months of 2021.

The survey emphasized collecting data during students’ “first full pandemic school year.”

Students were questioned on a range of topics that included questions on their mental health, drug use, whether they encountered violence at home or school, and if they encountered racism.

The study suggested that whereas young people were sparred “the brunt of the virus” since they were statistically far less likely to fall ill, experience serious symptoms, or die than their older counterparts, they might still “pay a steep price for the pandemic.”

Children are displaying negative side effects of coming of age while “weathering isolation, uncertainty, economic turmoil, and for many, grief,” the Washington Post reported.

Implying there is a biological difference between men and women, Kathleen A. Ethier, head of the CDC’s division of adolescent and school health, said the recently concluded survey’s results showed male and female students having vastly different results.

Reportedly, Ethier said, “Female students are far worse off than their male peers.”

The Washington Post reported that the survey “underscored the vulnerability of certain students, including LGBTQ youth and students who are being treated unfairly because of their race.”

Ethier said, “All students were impacted by the pandemic, but not all students were impacted equally.”

This survey’s findings are not the first-time medical officials noted their concerns about a growing mental health crisis among America’s teenagers.

This past October, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a “national emergency in child and adolescent mental health,” and said that its members were “caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and their communities.”

In December, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said, “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.”

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