Headline RoundupDecember 8th, 2021

Perspective: The COVID-19 Pandemic's Negative Impacts on Youth Mental Health

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A 53-page government report published Thursday details new hardships and mental health struggles for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's report explains how a budding mental health crisis was worsened by COVID-19. The report says that "depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms." It also details how in early 2021, U.S. emergency room visits "for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys compared to the same time period in early 2019." Murthy highlights how limiting kids' social interactions "made it harder to recognize signs of child abuse, mental health concerns, and other challenges."

Voices across the spectrum agree that the pandemic was bad for youth mental health and that lockdowns prevented children from having normal experiences. Right-rated outlets focused more on those factors; some left-rated outlets highlighted gun violence, racial tension and other social issues, along with the pandemic, as reasons for kids' recent mental health struggles. Some voices also focused on evidence that remote learning damaged youth academic advancement, particularly in areas with large populations of low-income and minority students. Writers on all sides advocated solutions; left- and center-rated voices called for more funding for mental health resources in schools, and right-rated voices often called for pandemic restrictions to be relaxed for kids.

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