Depth of Crisis
Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey - United States, January-June 2021 by Adriana Rico et. al
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 1, 2022
The ever present headlines highlighting teen and college-age suicide have been painful and disturbing to read. In many instances, students shocked their communities because many close to them did not see it coming. Little is known about how the pandemic impacted this vulnerable population, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention performed a study on adolescent behaviors and experiences in 2021, which is the first national, comprehensive study to investigate pandemic stressors on youth. Over 7,000 students were surveyed, and the data clearly indicates the severe and dire consequences of the pandemic on adolescents. In one year alone, there was a 31% increase in mental-health-related emergencies among youths aged 12-17. Stress, isolation, abuse, and grief were some of the risk factors that led many towards substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and other mental health struggles. The study also reveals data around perceived racism, emotional and physical abuse, and the differences within demographic mental health. It is not an easy report to read; however, our children need us to listen and pay attention to this growing reality. As educators, it is imperative that we grasp the depth of this crisis and find ways to support our students, children, and each other.