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CDC warns of sharp decline in teen mental health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of an accelerating mental health crisis among teens, with more than 4 in 10 teens reporting feeling “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying they has contemplated suicide, according to the results. from a poll released Thursday.

“These data echo a cry for help,” said Debra Houry, deputy director of the CDC. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode the mental well-being of students.”

The findings are based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 7,700 teens conducted in the first six months of 2021, when they were in the midst of their first full pandemic school year. They were asked about a variety of topics, including their mental health, alcohol and drug use, and whether they had experienced violence at home or at school. They were also asked if they had encountered racism.

Although young people have been spared the brunt of the virus — getting sick and dying at much lower rates than older people — they could still pay a heavy price for the pandemic, coming of age while coping with isolation, uncertainty , economic turmoil and, for many, pain.

At a news conference, Kathleen A. Ethier, chief of the CDC’s division of adolescent and school health, said the survey results highlighted the vulnerability of certain students, including LGBTQ youth and students who reported being treated unfairly because of his race. And the female students are much worse off than their male peers.

“All students have been affected by the pandemic, but not all students have been affected equally,” Ethier said.

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