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If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy on Tuesday released a new surgeon general’s advice, warning of a growing youth mental health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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As the crisis escalated in the decade due to the pandemic, the COVID-19 situation worsened as it limited social interaction and access to essential health and social services among young people, according to the surgeon general’s office.

“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents and young adults are real and widespread. Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people were struggling with feelings of helplessness, depression and suicidal thoughts – and rates have increased over the past decade. is,” Murthy said in a statement on Tuesday. “The COVID-19 pandemic further changed his experiences at home, school and in the community, and the impact on his mental health has been devastating.”

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Preliminary data suggest that emergency room visits, in particular, increased for suicide attempts among teenage girls. 51% There was a 4% increase in emergency room (ER) visits among adolescent boys during and during the same period with COVID-19.

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While some youth found more sleep, exercise and positive family time at home during the pandemic, others were at a loss.

“They missed the first days of school, months or even in-person schoolwork, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, play dates and time with relatives,” the advisory said. “They and their families may have lost access to mental health care, social services, income, food or housing. They may have COVID-19 themselves, suffer from prolonged COVID symptoms, or have had a loved one with the disease It is estimated that as of June 2021, more than 140,000 children in the US have lost their parents or grandparents to COVID-19.”

Malchester Brown IV, 6, takes a photo of a rainbow to submit online to his teacher at his home in Oakland, California, on March 15, 2021.

Additionally, as COVID-19 has limited in-person interactions and youth services, it has become harder for adults to recognize abuse and mental health concerns.

The advisory also cited a “national count on the deaths of black Americans at the hands of police officers, including the murder of George Floyd”; “Violence against Asian Americans”; “gun violence”; and “increasingly polarized political dialogue” as to the reasons for the decline in youth mental health in 2020 and 2021.

More than 140K US children lost caregivers to COVID-19

According to early 2020 estimates, there are more than 6,600 suicide deaths among American youth aged 10 to 24 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

White Plains High School students walk between classes on April 22 in White Plains, New York.

Even before COVID-19, one in five American children aged 3 to 17 experienced mental, emotional, developmental or behavioral disorders. CDC Report shows.

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In the decade between 2009 and 2019, in particular, the number of students who consistently felt depressed or hopeless increased by 40% More than one in three students, according to Murthy’s office.

Suicide among high school students increased by 36% between 2009 and 2019, with 19% of teens contemplating suicide and 16% planning to commit a suicide attempt in 2018. Suicide rate among US youth between the ages of 10 and 24 57% increase between 2007 and 2018.

The Office of the Surgeon General recommends that adults recognize mental well-being as an important factor in a child’s overall well-being; Empowering youth to build strong relationships with adults and be mindful of their use of social media and technology; limiting children’s access to means of self-harm; ensure that children have access to quality health care; Providing a safe learning environment for children; Addressing “economic and social barriers” among American youth; And come up with better ways to track data on youth mental health trends.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be contacted by calling 800-273-8255.

There is also a national crisis text line available 24/7 by texting “Home” to 741741 for those who do not wish to speak to a counselor.