COVID-19 Justice

Report: Kids’ mental health is suffering

A new report says more in-school mental health programming could be a lifesaver.

The pandemic has been awful for the mental health of kids in Michigan. Forced to contend with social isolation and virtual schooling, many children have responded with depression and anxiety. But a new report indicates that kids have been struggling with mental illness for far longer than COVID-19 has been around.

The Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan (CRC) has been tracking the well-being of children for years. And the rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation have been steadily increasing during that time.

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Data shows that the percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who have suffered a major depressive episode rose from 8% in 2009 to more than 14% in 2018.

But all is not lost. A report by the CRC advocates a statewide investment in mental health services in schools that could go a long way toward improving the lives of children in Michigan.

The report indicates that Michigan lags behind the rest of the country when it comes to the proportion of school-based health providers compared to student populations. For example, Michigan schools only have one school psychologist for every 1,521 students. Nationwide, the ratio is 1-to-1,211.

“The State of Michigan’s budget surplus and COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government provides an opportunity to do what should have been done long ago,” said CRC President Eric Lupher. “Alongside the funding to address learning loss caused by the pandemic, Michigan needs to direct resources to the mental, emotional, and behavioral needs of our youth that existed well before the pandemic.”

You can read more here.

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