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Pandemic intensifies growing mental health crisis among teens

Students heading again to the classroom after a year and a half of distant studying are dealing with a mental health crisis. A current survey by Mental Health America discovered 54% of 11 to 17 year olds reported frequent suicidal ideas or self-harm within the earlier two weeks — the best rate because it started screening in 2014. 

“If kids don’t have their mental health in check, those academics are going to — it’s going to be like a toilet bowl,” mentioned Jaclyn Friedman-Lombardo, director of counseling and psychological providers at Montclair State University. 

For those that are struggling, “mental health isn’t always about seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist,” Friedman-Lombardo mentioned. “Sometimes it’s about becoming involved in your community. It’s about making those connections, feeling that you belong.” 

This summer time at New Jersey’s Montclair State University, 16-year-old Katherine Chiqui Zumba discovered strategies to cut back stress and the way to deal with mental wellness. On prime of her distant highschool courses, she labored at her household’s daycare middle. But as stress and isolation took a toll, she saved quiet. 

“A lot of kids, they don’t want to address it or are scared to address it,” Zumba mentioned. “I’d always fake a smile.” 

She mentioned she was “not really depressed, but mostly sad all the time.” 

Even earlier than beginning her junior year of highschool, Zumba already discovered a lifelong lesson. “There is going to be issues in life. The real thing that you got to focus on is just, you know, how you handle it,” she mentioned. 

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