Philanthropy is a Critical Tool in Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis
Today, our nation’s young people are facing unprecedented challenges that are having a devastating impact on their mental health. Yet, with 1 in 3 young ...
Heading back to school can be challenging for teenagers and young adults. Factors that can impact a student’s mental health include changing schedules, more difficult classes, new social situations, and the pressure to succeed. This year, these challenges have been magnified by the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
We know it’s hard to watch students struggle with their well-being at a time when they should be exploring new interests, joining activities, and making friends. That’s why The Jed Foundation (JED) is urging adults to add student mental health prep to their back-to-school checklist, alongside tasks like shopping for school supplies and choosing meal plans. JED encourages parents, caregivers, and educators to learn how to help their students enter their new school year with confidence—while providing them with tools to cope with any challenges if and when they emerge.
According to recent studies:
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated feelings of disconnectedness and uncertainty; for many, it also introduced profound feelings of loss and grief. As students were acclimating to virtual classes and the threat of contagion, there was a pervasive climate of social and political unrest throughout the United States. Since 2020, young people have experienced increased rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, with rates higher for certain marginalized groups, including LGBTQ youth and people of color.
But even before the pandemic, rates of depression anxiety, and suicidal ideation were on the rise in adolescents and young adults. These factors spurred the American Academy of Pediatrics to declare an emergency in child and adolescent mental health in 2020. By 2021, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a public health advisory on the current state of youth mental health in the U.S.
But protecting one’s emotional and mental well-being is not something to tackle alone. Students who receive emotional support from adults are more likely to succeed in new environments and have better coping skills.
To create a well-rounded culture of caring for the student in your life as they head back to school, here is an overview of our resources:
This can be a demanding time for students, and it is crucial they do not face it alone. Your support, combined with access to mental health care as needed, and the encouragement to develop life skills, will help students navigate any emotional hurdles as they head back to school and acclimate to their “new normal.”
Remember: It’s never too late to start a conversation with the young people in your life about mental health. Obstacles don’t always manifest by the first day, or in predictable ways. It’s good to be proactive about your efforts—before the back-to-school excitement is replaced by the reality of routine, creating space for anxiety, doubts, or other emotional challenges.
If you notice a student struggling, we hope these resources will serve as a first line of defense; however, please be sure that your student knows they can speak with a crisis counselor anytime, for free, by texting 741-741, and can now access the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text HOME to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, text or call 988.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.